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Obama, Clinton Spend Extravagantly on Campaigns

Posted on 2/22/2008 2:23:00 PM

It could be an indication of how close the competition between the two leaders is, and how high the stakes involved are. Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are both spending extravagantly on their electoral campaigns. In contrast, Republican John McCain has spent only about a third as much.

For instance, Obama has already spent $30.5 million in the January, going by his report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Out of this, more than $18 million was used for ads to be broadcast on television and radio. Hillary Clinton too was on par, spending $28.5 million in January, from which $11 million went in campaign ads. In addition, she spent $3.5 million on direct mail expenses; Obama's expenses for the same came up to a little less than half of the amount.

However, the campaigns of the two leaders differ in their choice of vendors. Obama, for instance, uses the services of different strategists and consultants for major events. His campaign has already spent $2.7 million to pay for the services of four firms: Harstad Strategic Research, David Binder Research, Benenson Strategy Group, and Brilliant Corners. He has spent $1.2 million for media consulting and production services provided by his strategist, David Axelrod; besides he has also worked with other consultants.

In contrast, Clinton relies largely on her own strategists' firms for major campaign functions. She paid her senior strategist Mark Penn's firm, Penn, Schoen & Berland, $3.5 million for the direct mail campaign, and another $315,000 for polling in January. Over and above the $7.5 million that she has already paid the firm, she still owes another $2.1 million. Clinton's campaign also paid her media strategist Mandy Grunwald's firm more than $2 million to create ads.

The campaign spending reveals interesting information into the strategies employed by the campaigns of the two leaders. Obama, for instance, relied heavily on television to make his presence known amongst voters. Clinton, in contrast relied more on direct mail posts to her supporters.

Obama's campaign, however, does enjoy the edge when it comes to finance. While Clinton, who has lent $5 million to her campaign ran up$7.6 million in debts, Obama, in January had about $1 million in debt with $18 million cash. In January, Obama raised $35 million against the $13 million raised by Clinton.


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