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CAMPAIGN '08

Obama outraises, outspends McCain

The contributions for August also show he got a financial boost after Palin joined the Republican ticket.

September 22, 2008|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

Barack Obama received a minor fundraising bump after he named Joe Biden as his running mate but raked in huge sums after Republican rival John McCain picked Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential nominee.

The Democratic presidential candidate raised $66 million in August, including $22 million in contributions of $200 or less, virtually all of it sent via the Internet, Obama's latest report to the Federal Election Commission shows. McCain raised $47 million in August.

Obama, a senator from Illinois, also outspent McCain in August, shelling out $53.5 million on everything from television advertising and mass mailings to polling, food and lodging.

McCain, a senator from Arizona, spent $40 million but also benefited from $20 million spent by the Republican National Committee.

One of the most striking differences between McCain's and Obama's August disclosures was donor reaction to the candidates' vice presidential selections.

McCain received $8.8 million in the two days after he announced that Palin, the governor of Alaska, would be his running mate. Obama received $1.7 million the day he introduced Biden, a senator from Delaware, as his running mate, and $694,000 the following day.

Obama's campaign aides said he received additional donations in increments of $200 or less, though dates for such contributions do not show up on publicly filed disclosures.

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds seized on the donations Obama amassed in the days after he chose Biden, saying Democratic contributors were disappointed that Obama "passed over Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most popular Democrat in America."

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the donations had nothing to do with Biden, who joined the ticket two days before the start of the Democratic National Convention.

"His choice was an investment in a governing partner who can help get our economy working again, end the war in Iraq and bring the change we need," LaBolt said.

Obama's fundraising took off once the Democratic convention got underway: He raised nearly $17 million from the Aug. 25 start of the four-day convention through the month's end. Obama's campaign attributes some of the donations made during that period to Democratic reaction against McCain's Aug. 29 selection of Palin.

Obama's fundraising has set records for a presidential campaign. He has pulled in $454.8 million since entering the race in early 2007, compared with McCain's $224.3 million.

In addition to the $66 million Obama raised in August that went into his campaign account, he worked with the Democratic National Committee to raise $23 million for a joint fundraising account called the Obama Victory Fund. The DNC will use that money to cover costs during the remaining weeks of Obama's campaign.

Obama significantly outspent McCain on TV ads last month, $32.3 million to $18.1 million. The Republican National Committee spent $4.7 million on broadcast ads.

McCain has outspent his Democratic rival on mail-related costs -- $8 million to $4 million. The RNC spent $6.5 million on postage and mail production, the RNC's report to the FEC shows. Experts say Republicans tend to be older than Democrats and prefer direct mail over e-mail.

Obama has been using more money than his Republican opponent on Internet-related costs, spending $651,000 on online ads and $884,000 on websites. McCain and the RNC disclosed no spending specifically on online ads, and $422,000 on Web-related costs.

Obama received heavy support from lawyers last month, taking in $3 million to McCain's $1.7 million. He also outraised McCain in New York, the nation's banking center, collecting $2.7 million to McCain's $1.3 million.

Obama collected modest sums last month from individuals whose employers were most damaged by the subprime lending debacle. Merrill Lynch employees contributed $18,475, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac employees donated $6,200.

Throughout his campaign, Obama has said that he rejects the ways of Washington insiders. But he continues to outraise McCain in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia area, with $2.88 million to McCain's $2.4 million last month, and $28.5 million to McCain's $10.5 million since the campaign began.

California remains the candidates' largest source of money -- $52.2 million for Obama and $17 million for McCain. New York is Obama's second-largest source at $31.3 million, compared with $8.8 million for McCain. Texas is McCain's second-largest source at $13 million. Obama has raised $12 million there, according to the FEC.

--

dan.morain@latimes.com

Times data analyst Sandra Poindexter contributed to this report.

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