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Obama campaign: 'If we don't step it up, we're in trouble'

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The president also warned that his campaign faced a deluge of Republican money.

"Over the course of the next three months, the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen on ads that basically say the same thing you've been hearing for the past three months," Obama said, then summarized their argument as "the economy is not where it needs to be and it's Obama's fault."

Before Romney's summer surge, Obama had not been outraised by an opponent since 2007.

In an email to supporters after the July numbers were announced, the Obama campaign said, "If we don't step it up, we're in trouble."

A huge spending advantage in the final months of a close election can help a campaign as it seeks to sway undecided voters.

Obama officials say they expected Romney to outraise the president through the summer and have made contingency plans if the disparity continues. Part of that planning has involved heavy spending on ads through the spring and summer in an attempt to define Romney for voters before he has access to most of his general election funds.

With the election still three months away, Obama and the DNC have spent more than $370 million since January of last year. In June, the campaign spent more than it brought in.

Seeking to keep its coffers full, the campaign has special plans for some donors who live in reliably Democratic states where the president may not visit in the midst of the campaign. They'll get a chance to fly elsewhere in the country to meet him at an event. The campaign has also been raffling off chances for smaller donors to attend meals with the president or attend events with celebrities such as actor George Clooney.

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