[Wine] Big Cash Edge Powers Obama In Drive for 2012 Election

lorelmfias wineforum-user at winehq.org
Tue Oct 18 13:42:43 CDT 2011

Since the beginning of the year, Mr. Obama and the Democratic National Committee, for which the president is helping raise money to finance his party’s grass-roots efforts, have spent close to 87 million in operating costs, according to a New York Times analysis of campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. That amount is about as much as all the current Republican candidates together have raised so far in this campaign. In recent months, that money has helped open campaign offices in at least 15 states. In contrast, the best-financed Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, have physical presences in just a handful of early primary states like New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. In just the last three months, according to the filings, the Obama campaign has spent more on payroll, more than 4 million, than several of the Republican candidates have raised. The president is already paying staff employees in at least 38 states, including Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico and North Carolina. His Chicago campaign headquarters hums with more than 200 paid aides. And Mr. Obama has spent millions of dollars investing in social media and information technology, applying both savvy and brute technological force to raising small-dollar donations, firing up volunteers and building a technical infrastructure to sustain his re-election campaign for the next year. The gap in spending underscores facts easily lost amid the president’s low approval ratings, his challenges in winning over independent voters and the gridlock he faces in Washington: Mr. Obama brings unmatched financial resources to the campaign trail, and a team with a well-honed sense of where and how to deploy money, people and technology. “In the past three months, we’ve grown our organizing staff by 50 percent and opened up three new field offices every week,” Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s campaign manager, wrote in an e-mail to supporters on Thursday. “Thousands of volunteers and organizers made 3 million phone calls and in-person visits to voters.” Mr. Obama’s advantages are partly circumstantial: With no primary opponent, Mr. Obama, like other incumbent presidents before him, can begin preparing for a general election contest that is still more than a year away. He can also raise large contributions for the Democratic National Committee — topping out at 30,800 per donor rather than the 5,000 limit on contributions to candidates — that are helping finance the party’s broader efforts to help Democrats up and down the ballot. During the last three months, the committee has already transferred funds totaling more than 1.3 million to Democratic organizations in all 50 states and the Dior cheap (http://www.bag126.com/) District of Columbia, according to the party’s filings. Though the Republican National Committee has enjoyed strong fund-raising in recent months, it is also still paying down large debts incurred during the 2008 cycle. At the end of September, the committee was still 14.5 million in debt, according to campaign reports. That gap explains, in part, why Republican-oriented independent groups like American Crossroads and Americans for Prosperity are devising plans to spend millions of dollars this year on social media and voter-identification efforts, with a major focus on helping the eventual Republican candidate win the White House. Mr. Perry and Mr. Romney, as well as Mr. Obama, are also backed by “super PACs” founded by each candidate’s allies and former aides. Such groups can raise unlimited contributions and are required to disclose their expenditures much less frequently than the campaigns or party committees, creating some uncertainty in assessing how the fund-raising wars will ultimately aid one candidate or another. Mr. Obama has used his growing field operation as a selling point with large donors in a fund-raising initiative called “Strong Start.” The program shares with supporters the campaign’s estimated costs for organizers, offices and campaign supplies in 12 states and regions, and invites them to underwrite the costs with a donation. “We need to Start Strong now, we would like each N.F.C. member’s help to get this off the ground and take ownership of this quarter’s field offices,” Kevin Karlsgodt, Mr. Obama’s deputy finance chief of staff, wrote in an e-mail to top Democratic donors on the party’s national finance council early this month. “Get friends to chip in a week or two, and we’ll be there in no time.” In just one example of the campaign’s financial clout, in the last three months, Mr. Obama has spent more than 2 million on online advertising and half a million dollars on computer equipment and software. His bill for Web hosting was 360,000, more cash than each of the Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jon M. Huntsman Jr. had in their bank accounts at the end of the quarter. The filings also reveal where the Republican candidates are investing some of their time and money. According to his campaign filings, Mr. Romney, who spent big in Iowa in 2008 but has suggested he would not compete aggressively in the state this year, has doubled his campaign staff there, to four from Marc Jacobs cheap (http://www.bag126.com/) two. He has also spent about 160,000 in the state this year, including some direct mailings. Mr. Perry, who entered the campaign midway through the third quarter, has spent about 58,000 in Iowa, though the state is regarded as an important proving ground for his candidacy. Several of the Republican candidates are spending relatively heavily in New Hampshire, which traditionally hosts the country’s first primary. Excluding consulting costs, Mr. Huntsman has spent the largest amount, about 397,000, in the state, followed by Representative Ron Paul of Texas, who has spent about 278,000, and Mr. Romney, who has spent 184,000, according to an analysis of campaign filings.

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