President Obama's re-election campaign is preparing for its first major ad buy of the 2012 campaign, requesting advertising rates from local TV stations in key battleground states, sources tell ABC News.
One source familiar with the scouting, speaking only on condition of anonymity, called the process "a first step" but said that no decision had been made on content for an ad or whether to move forward.
Obama campaign strategists have publicly expressed concern about the millions of dollars of ads already on the air attacking the president funded by pro-Republican super PACs. They are eager to push back.
"They're talking upwards of half a billion dollars in negative ads aimed at the president from interest groups who don't disclose and who can raise unlimited amounts of money," chief Obama strategist David Axelrod said Sunday on CNN. "That is a very, very concerning thing to me."
Obama has raised more than $131 million for his campaign through Dec. 31, according to campaign manager Jim Messina. Combined with funds raised by the Democratic National Committee, which will work in tandem with the president, the total exceeds $220 million. Much of that money will likely be tapped for advertising.
The campaign ran its first TV ads of the 2012 cycle in November: a "tiny" buy on national satellite providers aimed at signing up supporters as volunteers and potential donors. News of Obama team preparations for an ad buy in battleground states was first reported by Mark Murray of NBC.