Campaign Finance

Obama, Who 'Obliterated' All Political Spending Records in 2008, Warns That He Will Be Outspent in 2012


At $1.7 billion, the 2008 election was the most expensive election on record. The winner, President Barack Obama, spent a record $740 million, more than both presidential candidates had spent combined in the 2004 election, according to FEC filings, and became the first major party candidate to entirely reject federal campaign funds for the general election. His rival, John McCain, spent just $227 million.

Throughout the general election season, Obama consistently outspent McCain, especially on messaging. By the end, the Obama campaign was spending nearly three times as much on broadcast advertising as the McCain campaign. As Bloomberg News reported in November, 2008, "Barack Obama obliterated every political fundraising and spending record in U.S. history."

So you can see why President Obama might be worried about being outspent in the upcoming election. Indeed, he's so worried that he sent me an email today with the subject line, "I will be outspent." Here's how it starts:

I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.

I'm not just talking about the super PACs and anonymous outside groups—I'm talking about the Romney campaign itself.

The email warns that "We can be outspent and still win — but we can't be outspent 10 to 1 and still win." It does not note that Obama has already raised more than Romney, according to FEC filings collected by The New York Times. The reporting lags by a few months, but at the end of March, the Obama campaign had — wait for it — 10 times more cash on hand than Romney.

But forget all that. This isn't about fundraising. It's about dinner — but for a limited time only. "Every donation you make today automatically enters you to join Michelle and me for one of the last grassroots dinners of this campaign — today is your last chance to get your name in." Act now before it's too late!

As a fundraising email signed an Obama supporter who won a dinner reminded us yesterday, "Your chances of winning Dinner with Barack (and Michelle) are MUCH better than you might think." But as with the lottery, you can't win if you don't play. 

NEXT: California Authorities Prepare to Not Really Bother to Enforce Foie Gras Ban

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  1. He’ll be outspent because only the most ardent Democrats are sending him money. He might as well get an “L” tattooed on his forehead right now.

    1. Husseinus Obamus Barackus Imperator Augustus Americanus Caesar cannot lose, Pro Libertate. If he does, the libertard horde shall sweep the Earth and destroy existence as we know it.

      So donate what you can, subject — I mean, citizen!

      1. I sure hope Romney doesn’t suck as much as he looks like he will. We really need a halfway decent president for once. Even more, we need a halfway decent Congress.

        1. My guess is he’ll be just another faux-conservative asshole on just another spending binge. He’ll probably perform fellatio on gun rights groups, but that’s about the only positive I can see in his upcoming administration.

          1. Shit, I wish. At least maybe then some of the ATF clowns would end up in a Mexican jail.

            On the other hand: loves spending, mandates, and the NRA? Could we be getting a Swiss-style gun mandate?

    2. It looks to be the opposite. According to that NY Times thing on spending, 54% of his cash came from sub-$200 donations and 18% from $2,500 donations. Romney is almost the exact reverse of that, 54% from $2,500 donors and 15% from sub-$200. That seems to imply that Obama’s donor base is broader (and can be hit up for more money via these sort of e-mail scare tactics).

      1. His base is broke. They had jobs in 2008. Not so many now 🙂

      2. If that were true, they’d have more money. That’s usually how this works.

      3. There was a huge mania in many online communities where people encouraged each other to constantly reopen their wallets and cough up cash to Obama’s campaign. I’m most definitely not seeing that this year; the shine is off for many.

      4. The comparison of interest is Obama 2012 against Obama 2008, not Obama 2012 against Romney 2012.

        The Obama donor base is shrinking rapidly.

        1. He has 10% more total money and more money from small donors (which can be good or bad) than in 2008. That means he has more total donors, but they’re all smaller donors now. The important question is, why? Is it because he didn’t have a tough contested primary this year, so donors are keeping their powder dry and were hit up for cash harder and earlier in the cycle, is it because rich people are running away or is it because the donor base is poorer? All three interpretations are probably true to some extent, but they all imply completely different reasons.

          1. no, I think they pretty much imply the same reason:
            –much of the donor base is poorer based on unemployment, income, and other empirical data
            –the rich folks have decided that the salve on their white guilt is no longer worth the momentary feel-good and that, to this man, they are the enemy
            –primary challenges to incumbents are usually fools’ errands and support of one this time would have been akin to Dems waiving a big banner that said “we fucked up”

            1. Part of this is that they have done this $3 donation campaign and dinner with barack thing for quite a while now. So you get a lot of marginal donors this time around.

    3. Outspent is relative. It’s not like Mitt inspires much passion. I’d guess he gets more funding from anti-Obama antipathy than pro-Mitt sentiment.

      1. Other than Mormons, I’m mystified that anyone could be a passionate Romney supporter. How do you get energized over a handful of grey goo with no message?

        1. From what I see of the efenant base, they are pasionate about defeating Obama. About Mittens, not so much. But he’s the guy they’ve got to defeat Obama, so…

        2. Are you positing that Romney is a construct of millions of nanobots?

    4. Yes, there have been many articles talking about the donor-base drying up compared to 2008. It’s becoming clear that Obama will not have as much funding this year.

      And “rich” liberals are refusing to spend money on direct advertising because they don’t want to sully themselves with the same filthy habits as conseratives.

  2. Would any of you guys be as inclined as I am to add a note saying “Go fuck your dog (not Michelle, the other one” and mark the invitation “return to sender”?

    1. No. Insulting the man’s wife accomplishes nothing. A simple “Fuck off, Slaver” will suffice.

  3. And they just get more repulsive and creepy. Daily. It’s fucking uncanny.

    1. I thought the whole Anna Wintour dinner thing was so tone deaf it was laughable, but then they came out with the wedding registry thing and reset the bar for narcissistic insanity.

      And we still have four months till the election. I can only imagine what they have in store.

      “Hey, you don’t REALLY need that triple bypass surgery, why not donate to Barack Obama?”

      1. “You know, your liver transplant would be paid for under Obamacare. But NOT if Romney and his RETHUGLICAN gang win. Invest in a healthy future by donating your transplant money to Obama 2012.”

    2. *Paul Hogan voice*

      That’s not creepy; This is creepy, mate.

      1. Go back to the registry page on and read the comments. They are refreshing.

        1. The ones that weren’t deleted.

          1. Yeah, I assume those were better, but it’s Obama’s campaign site, so I didn’t expect any kind of dissent to be allowed.

  4. “I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.”

    Hey, nobody want’s to see their record broken so quickly!

  5. I just have to laugh and laugh at the lefties that shreik about being outspent in the Wisconsin recall election.

    1. It’s only “buying the election” when libertards and Republicants do it. Pinko dipshits are noble and true, and may spend as they wish!

  6. I have that plate. Got it as a Christmas gift. I put it out every Christmas.

    1. Stick a Confederate Battle Flag where Obama’s face is and send it to a lefty friend.

    2. I put it out every Christmas.

      For Santa’s reindeer to poop on?

  7. Now that’s how you do Alt+Text!

    1. It’s kind of amazing when I realize that I started my alt-text crusade with Pete and now he’s one of the best.

    2. Thanks for the heads up….perfect timing.

  8. True to form, his campaign seems to be a massive bureaucracy with a truly impressive burn rate already.

    1. And I know someone who voted for him based entirely on the ’08 run supposedly a demonstration of Obama’s competence as an executive leader. Pitiful.

  9. So if he loses the election, it will only be because he was outspent, which will render the election null and void.

    Of course if he’s wrong, and he outspends Romney, then it will show that he is indeed more popular because he was able to raise more money.

    Heads I win, tails you lose.

    1. Exactly, now you get it! Of course he shouldn’t hamstring himself to public matching funds (even though he promised to do so). Who is he to disregard the will of the people and forgo their money, especially when he’s fighting the evil, corporate funded warmongers?

    2. This administration should be known as the Vollerschei?eist administration.

      1. Wow, someone else who blurts out the occasional German…Things like “Full of Shit” sound so much better when you yell them in German.

  10. Will diners have to surrender their silverware before Obama reveals himself?

    1. It’s very important that you use your utensils as soon as possible,” National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials board member Raquel Regalado told about 1000 delegates at the group’s annual conference.[…]
      “As you know, we’re having another speaker and there is some Secret Service involved. So there’s a reason why there’s no knives at your table and the forks will be collected. … And I’m not joking,” Regalado told the audience in a ballroom at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. “So, like the good Hispanic mother I’m here to tell you to please, eat your lunch.”

      Not a single vote. He hasn’t lost a single…fucking…vote.

      This dude is so going to win in November.

      1. Dude, those people are political hacks who will always vote party line.

        It’s impossible to predict what will happen. We’ll find out in November.

        1. I predict that a statist will win.

      2. National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials

        That group is so deep blue they are practically ultraviolet. They are going to lap up whatever abuse is dished out to them by their master.

  11. “grassroots dinner”?

    God that sounds awful. Michele Obama has gone off the rails with this healthy eating shit.

    1. Oh, that’s what that means?

      I figured it was just a dinner where you listen to “Temptation Eyes” on infinite repeat.

  12. I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign

    you don’t suppose there are some causal factors at work here, do you?

    1. Of course. Citizens United.

  13. I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his re-election campaign, if things continue as they have so far.

    If you took a hint from LBJ and dropped out of the race early on because your record is pure shit you would not have that problem.

    1. Try to imagine Harry Reid leading a group of Senators to the Oval Office to tell Obama to just give it up, man.

      On second thought, don’t. You’ll just do yourself an injury.

      1. I’m betting Reid votes for Romney, though.

  14. A progressive coworker defended the Obama Wedding Registry because Obama needed every bit he could get to combat the Republican war chest.

  15. Why can’t he win if he’s outspent 10:1?

    I mean, really, he’s the President. He gets to fly around and make campaign speeches, all on our tax dollars. He gets free news coverage every minute of every day, worldwide (mostly from people who are essentially campaigning for him).

    He doesn’t NEED to spend THAT much money, as an incumbent. Incumbent Presidents win elections, unless they REALLY SUCK.

    Is he admitting, then, that he realizes that he sucks to high heaven?

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