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  Most expensive presidential campaign-US Election sets world record

 WASHINGTON, USA -- This is the first election in US history where the two candidates have raised more than $2.4 billion -setting the world record for the Most expensive presidential campaign.

   Photo: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. waves at a rally at Veteran's Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. Monday, Nov. 3, 2008. / AP Photo-Alex Brandon (enlarge photo)

The cost of the last presidential campaign in 2004, considered a peak for its time, was 693 million dollars.

  As a historical comparison, the campaign two decades ago that saw Republican George H.W. Bush succeed Ronald Reagan at the White House cost 59 million dollars. Historians believe that the nation's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, spent 100,000 dollars in his bid to take the executive office in 1860.  

 Since the presidential campaigning began in January 2007, White House candidates from both parties have raised $1.5 billion, double the amount collected in 2004 and triple the figure in 2000.
(report by the Centre for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan watchdog).

  ...and this is just one of a myriad of donation records that have been smashed.

  Data compiled by Obama's campaign show that by Election Day, Obama will have outspent McCain and the RNC, $278 million to $176 million on broadcast and cable TV, including $3 million for last night's 30-minute infomercial on seven national television networks.

  With the internet being harnessed to amass political donations on a huge scale for the first time, Democratic challenger Barack Obama has managed to smash all previous records – raising $639m to date, according to the Federal Election Commission. (FEC).

  Rival John McCain, of the Republican party - who has admitted that he does not send email, let alone use the internet regularly - has raised just over half that - $335m.

   McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said: "Not since Richard Nixon has a candidate tried to buy his way into the Oval Office . . . until Barack Obama."

  Obama spokesman Nick Shapiro answered: "Barack Obama's campaign has been funded by more than 3.1 million hard-working Americans giving small donations."   

   Readers comments: What is impressive about the funds built up by the Obama campaign is how much has come from small donations by hundreds of thousands of ordinary Americans - this is refreshing after years of the Republicans being bankrolled chiefly by big corporations (eg. Enron, Halliburton). -Ruskee, London on Timesonline forum

 Obama, the first major party candidate to forgo public funding since the post-Watergate reform law went into effect in 1976, has smashed fund-raising records, taking in more than $600 million during the campaign, including the primary campaign, almost all from individual donors.

McCain has raised $358 million, including $84.1 million in public funds for the last two months of the general election. McCain counted on national party money to help offset the Obama financial onslaught.

  Individual donations are at the heart of the American political donation process, with strict limits on who can and cannot donate, and how much one person can donate - $2,300 in case you were wondering.

  Unsurprisingly, some $42m has come from the securities and investment industry – ranking third behind retired donors ($103.9m) and lawyers ($84m) – in the US Presidential election race, which includes monies that went to unsuccessful candidates including Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

   Of that money, $12.6m has gone to Obama, and $7.9m to McCain, with New York favourites Mrs Clinton and Rudi Giuliani – she being the State’s junior Senator, him being the former Mayor - receiving $6.1m and $5m respectively, even though their campaigns finished months ago.

   UK's "Daily Telegraph" notes: "But whatever the donations, and whoever they have come from, as the polls open across America today, all the time for spending will be over – and it will be the power of the ballot, rather than the power of the dollar, which will provide the final results."


   Tuesday, November 4, 2008 9:18

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