NEW YORK (AP) -- President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney and their allies already have spent $87 million on TV ads in the nine most hotly contested states.
It's an early and unprecedented level of spending for a close general election race that's just weeks old.
The Obama campaign has been the largest single advertiser so far, pouring $31 million into commercials.
Romney's campaign has spent slightly more than $5 million on ads.
But deep-pocketed, conservative-leaning independent groups have more than made up the difference by spending $42 million to date on ads to defeat Obama. Independent groups interested in seeing Obama get re-elected have spent nearly $9 million on campaign ads.