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How candidates spend your donations

February 8, 2008 |  8:44 pm

You may have read a little something or other in recent months and days about the importance of money in U.S. presidential campaigns. This week one of those presidential candidates -- we won't use the name to save her embarrassment -- said she had to loan herself $5 million.

Fact is, they all need a lot of money -- probably $1 billion total before they're all done with conceding and popping balloons.

Some campaigns go through their hard-won donations like lawmakers writing earmarks with taxpayers' money. Sen. John McCain, the former and current Republican front-runner who is campaigning as a fiscal conservative opposed to those legislative spending gimmicks, seemed to run through his multimillion-dollar campaign treasury awfully quickly last spring.

And he ended up firing staff and flying commercial alone back in the economy section.

Other campaigns are frugal to the extent they require staffers to use both sides of fax cover sheets to save on paper.

A certain national chain of economy motels decided to save on its own advertising budget by creating an online meter that takes each candidate's estimated hotel expenses and figures out how much each could have saved by staying at that chain. Executives over there knew the media could never resist such a fun thing during the political season and would provide free advertising of its economy theme.

How true! Our LATimes.com sister blog (or is it brother blog?), Daily Travel & Deal Blog, has the fun story here. You'll be shocked, sincerely shocked, at how much each candidate could have saved.

And you too, next time you're running for president.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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