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Obama's super PAC problem

May 21, 2012: 11:39 AM ET

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President Obama has a super PAC problem.

After outspending Sen. John McCain by a wide margin in 2008, the incumbent president is in danger of losing the 2012 money race to Mitt Romney.

Of course it's early, and Obama has a powerful fundraising machine. But the balance of power may well be upset as Republican super PACs have brought in much more money than pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.

That group, which has Obama's blessing, reported Sunday that it raised only $1.6 million in donations in April. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association gave $1 million, and another union kicked in $250,000. But the huge individual donations that were a hallmark of the Republican primary were missing.

So far this year, Priorities USA Action has raised only $6.2 million. Compare that to just one Republican donor, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who has given, along with his wife, a total of $25 million so far this cycle, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Are Democrats worried? Here's Obama strategist David Axelrod on Twitter, responding to a post from Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post:

Of course, Axelrod has been trying to lower expectations heading into the general election. But he is right to say that unless Democratic super PACs are able to pick up the pace, they will surely be outspent by the Republican rivals in that narrow category.

The real question is: Can Obama's army of hard money donors make up the difference? Stay tuned ...

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About This Author
Charles Riley
Charles Riley
Reporter, CNNMoney

Charles Riley lives and works in Hong Kong, where he covers markets, economics and other high-impact stories across Asia. He previously worked for CNNMoney in New York and CNN in Washington. He tweets @CRrileyCNN

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