(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- New figures show Mitt Romney has raised more money than President Obama for the third month in a row.
In July, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee took in $26 million more than his rival, while the president's campaign is spending money as fast as it can be raised.
Obama campaign officials say they always expected to be outraised by an energized Republican Party hoping to take back the White House. What it means is that the president has to spend more time on the fundraising circuit just to try to keep pace.
At a $500-a-plate fundraiser in Connecticut Monday night, Mr. Obama rolled out his newest attack line about Romney's tax plan.
"He'd ask the middle class to pay more in taxes so he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year. It's like. It's Romney-hood."
From there, the president headed to an even, at the Connecticut home of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, where entertainment luminaries such as Anne Hathaway and Aaron Sorkin reportedly paid nearly $40,000 each.
It's a sign of how fierce the money race is that Mr. Obama spends about as much time on the fundraising circuit as on the campaign trail.
Yet, he is still being out-raised this summer, even before you factor in deep-pocketed conservative outside groups. One of those groups, Americans for Prosperity, will announce Tuesday that it's spending more than $25 million dollars on ads just in the next three weeks. The ad will say, "Five trillion dollars in debt has been added under this administration."
The group's Tim Phillips says, "Americans for Prosperity and our sister organization, The (Americans for Prosperity) Foundation, will spend about $110 million this year."
In a recent fundraising email, the Obama campaign told supporters, "If we don't step it up, we're in trouble."
In June, the campaign spent more than it brought in, and in the last three months, it spent $131 million on ads in battleground states.
One such ad says, "Romney admits over the last two years he's paid less than 15 percent on taxes."
It's an expensive but effective approach, according to Democrat Ed Rendell, a former governor of Pennsylvania and the author of the new book, "Nation of Wusses."
"They're following a strategy, they're really locking in Americans' minds an image of Gov. Romney that is going to be very difficult for Gov. Romney to get out of," Rendell observes.
And the Obama campaign points out you don't need to raise more money to win. It notes that George W. Bush was out-raised by Democrat John Kerry in 2004, but was still reelected.
To see the Nancy Cordes report, click on the video in the player above.