G.O.P. chair Ed Cox says Mitt Romney could ‘absolutely’ out-raise Obama

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Even before Mitt Romney reported his best fund-raising month of the campaign this morning, with $12.6 million collected in March, some Republicans were starting to raise their expectations.

"He's already done spectacularly here in New York," state chairman Ed Cox told me last night when I asked about the Romney campaign's latest fund-raising goals. "And I have to say, Obama's fund-raising is going down. I've watched the graph. It's not what it was four years ago.

"And I've seen the inside information and his people are not as enthusiastic as they were four years ago."

The Romney campaign has tried to straddle the line between trumpeting the enthusiasm of its own donors, and setting expectations in an exceedable place. Its latest fund-raising goals, reported this week by the New York Times, are to raise about $600 for the campaign, as part of an $800 overall joint effort with the Republican National Committee.

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In its pitch to donors, the campaign has cast the president's re-election campaign as a $1 billion juggernaut that donors can help stop, with their contributions. 

But Cox said he thought Romney could out-raise the president.

"Oh absolutely," he said. "He has a wonderful wonderful network, particularly here in New York. He's done very well here in New York. We are energized. They are not. They have failed. It's our turn. It's our turn. And the American people know that."