Barack Obama’s presidential campaign shattered all records by raising $760 million in the last election cycle. That record is not likely to last much longer — Obama is expected to raise more than $1 billion for his re-election campaign.
And overall spending by all candidates in 2012 is predicted to eclipse an astounding $8 billion.
In short, while polls show an angry surge of tea party voters and others pressing Congress to reduce the rampant spending government has been addicted to for decades, lawmakers every year are spending larger and larger sums to get their own government jobs.
On Thursday, both the House and the Senate passed a budget measure that cuts $38.5 billion in spending while funding the government for the rest of the current fiscal year, which ends September 30. With its passage, the White House and Congress will now focus on what are expected to be more rancorous battles over a budget for fiscal year 2012 and the upcoming need to raise the federal debt limit.
Yet while the president and other lawmakers call for restraint in public spending, there seems to be no limits on what they'll raise and spend to get elected.
Obama’s fundraising begins Thursday night in his hometown Chicago. First he is speaking at a $5,000 to $15,000-per-plate fundraiser at a steakhouse. Then he’s off to a $35,000-per-person event at MK Restaurant, where he’ll eat dinner.
The meal will feature hors d’oeuvres including lobster sandwiches, farm-raised perch, and beef tartare. Entrees include Maine salmon with asparagus and shaved fennel, seared Maine sea scallops, rosemary braised short ribs, and parsnip puree.
After dinner, the president will headline a fundraiser in Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom, where guests will pay $100 to $250 per person.
Obama’s $1 billion fundraising target is intended to offset what he believes to be an onslaught of outside spending by corporate interests backing Republicans, Bill Holman, government affairs lobbyist with Public Citizen, told Yahoo! News.
That spending will be fueled by the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, which stated that “restrictions on corporate independent expenditures are invalid.”
In the midterm elections, the first after the ruling, spending hit a record $3 billion and interest group outlays rose five-fold compared to the 2006 midterms, according to the Washington Post.
A $1 billion war chest would allow Obama's 2012 campaign to advertise on television, radio and newspapers in almost any market it wants to, rather than pick and choose the cities and states where it will spend money, a Reuters report noted.
The campaign would also be able to buy ads targeting specific groups, such as Hispanic or urban voters.
Including House and Senate races, Holman estimates that as much as $8 billion will be spent on the 2012 elections.
The largest chunk of that money will be spent on broadcast advertising concentrated in battleground states, if the pattern in 2008 is an indication of where the money will go. In 2008, about 87 percent of all spending was concentrated in just 11 states for the general election, according to the media buying firm Horizon Media.
Obama’s team spent $427 million on media in 2008, including $244 million on broadcast media.
During that campaign Obama raised more than $740 million from individuals, more than George W. Bush and John Kerry combined in the 2004 presidential election. Obama was able to outspend John McCain by a margin of four to one in key battleground states in the final stretch of the campaign.
A Newsmax report from December 9 headlined “Big Money Bought Obama the White House” disclosed that according to FEC figures, big donors who gave in chunks of $1,000 or more spent nearly $184 million to back the Obama campaign.
This time around, Obama’s early start on fundraising, plus his deep corporate connections and the power of incumbency, should enable him to easily outpace Republican challengers in fundraising during the early months of the campaign — especially since no GOP challenger has officially launched a campaign.
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