It probably doesn't mean much in the long run. No doubt the fact that there are no Democratic primaries and no hard fought race for the nomination as there was in 2008 contributes to a 30% drop in funds compared to the president's first campaign.
Besides, there are going to be other months where he will probably raise 30% more than in 2008, so in the end, Obama will probably come close to his billion dollar goal.
The rate at which the Obama campaign is spending campaign funds - called its burn rate - is not as high as the field of GOP primary contenders battling for the nomination in Michigan and Arizona. But the Obama campaign is using up cash at a far greater rate than the last incumbent to seek reelection, George W. Bush in 2004, a Globe analysis of campaign finance reports shows. Moreover, the Bush campaign in 2004 set fund-raising records, even though Bush's renomination was uncontested.
The Obama campaign in recent months has been downplaying fund-raising expectations fanned by Republicans who have warned their base that the president is seeking to spend $1 billion in an effort to win a second term. In late December, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina called those estimates wrong, and there were reports that the target is closer to that of the 2008 campaign, when Obama raised about $750 million.
Earlier this month, Obama did a U-turn and announced he is encouraging large donors to support Priorities USA Action, a super PAC formed by former aides to help his reelection campaign. Previously he had criticized the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the doors to super PACs, which must spend independently of candidates and parties but may take in unlimited contributions from wealthy individuals, corporations, and labor unions. At that time, he called the development "a threat to democracy.''
No one knows what impact the Super Pacs will have on the race. It may get to the point that a certain saturation level is reached and people simply start to tune out the babble from TV ads. Or, one or two memorable ads may turn the election. You just never know.