WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, stung by the fundraising success of rival Mitt Romney and groups supporting him, predicted on Wednesday that the Republican would outdo Obama and Democrats in June with a $100 million haul.
The prediction, shared by an Obama campaign official in a briefing with reporters, could achieve two objectives: raising expectations for Romney's fundraising apparatus and prodding Obama supporters into coughing up more cash.
Obama officials also said they expected Republican groups to shell out $1.225 billion on broadcast advertising this year. Obama would be the first incumbent president to be outspent in a re-election campaign, they said.
The former Massachusetts governor's presidential campaign topped Obama's for the first time in May, bringing in more than $76.8 million along with Republican groups. Obama and his Democratic allies raised some $60 million in the same period.
By suggesting that Romney and the Republican National Committee will be ahead again in June and attaching a whopping figure to that forecast, the Obama campaign may be setting up Romney for a perceived failure if he does not reach that number, while softening the blow in advance if Obama's figures turn out to be lackluster.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, declined to predict what the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee would raise in June, other than to say it would be less than $100 million.
"I think you're going to see another huge month for (Romney)," the official said, noting that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry outraised Republican President George W. Bush in the first couple months after clinching the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004.
"I think Romney is going to continue to have big months. Combine that with the Super PAC stuff, you know, we are going to be the first incumbent outspent. That's clear."
Obama's campaign expects outside fundraising groups known as Super PACs to spend hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming months to help Romney win the White House.
Romney's campaign dismissed the remarks.
"The Obama campaign is used to moving the goal posts," said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
Super PACs, or political action committees, which are required to operate independently of the candidates they support, became major fundraising vehicles following a 2010 Supreme Court decision on campaign finance.
Obama's campaign has spent more than a year building up an operation of volunteers and staff in battleground states, an on-the-ground field organization it hopes will give the president an edge over Romney on Election Day.
Obama has 35 field offices in Ohio, 11 in Nevada, 19 in Colorado and 40 in Florida, the Obama official said, adding Romney's campaign had significantly fewer in each state.
(Editing by Peter Cooney)