07/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Lack Of Money Hobbling GOP Attack Machine

Democrats and the media have used the term so much that it's almost an article of faith. But the so-called "Republican attack machine" waiting with piles of unregulated cash to chew up Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is anything but.

Obama cited the threat of unregulated attack groups -- called "527s" because they're authorized to raise unlimited cash under that section of the Internal Revenue Service code -- to justify dropping his pledge to take public financing -- along with its spending limits -- for the general election campaign.

Yet there's no 2008 equivalent to the 2004 Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which spent $22 million attacking Democrat John Kerry. Prominent groups and donors that played key roles in independent conservative 527 groups four years ago say they're sitting out this election. And while they've raised more than they did at this point four years ago, the independent pro-Republican groups still lag more than $50 million behind pro-Democratic groups.

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