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Adding up the losers' spending: Clinton, Biden, Romney, Paul, et al.

As usual, The Times' diligent Dan Morain has the presidential fundraising story elsewhere on this website, focusing on Sen. John McCain.

But poring over the numbers reported late Sunday night by the also-rans and the never-were-really-in-its, he compiled this table for Ticket readers.

Numbers are really intriguing, now that we're no longer in ninth grade algebra. For one thing, the sums spent to persuade Americans to vote for a candidate are simply enormous: about $540 million so far. And there's still months to go!

Will we have a billion-dollar campaign season? For sure, with just the losers spending that $540 million. In 2004, about 121 million presidential votes were cast. Figure 10% growth for 2008 ballots and $1 billion spent and that's $7.50 for every single general election vote!

The per vote total will be even larger if, as is possible, Obama alone spends a half-billion dollars just so he can buy his daughters a dog.

Only three of the two-party panoply of losing candidates ended up with zero debt, all of them Republicans: Reps. Ron Paul and Tom Tancredo and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (He can afford to forgive the $45 million of loans to himself.)

The biggest debt, not surprisingly, belongs to Sen. Hillary Clinton, $25 million worth, which Barack Obama has asked his supporters to help retire, with mixed success.

But added all together, the total outstanding debts still total more than $33 million, 76% of it belonging to Clinton. Rudy Giuliani still owes $3.6 million. 

Mike Huckabee, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson, Fred Thompson and Duncan Hunter have whittled their debts down some, but Joe Biden still reports a whopping $1.56 million. And Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who seems always to be announcing another impeachment bid, still owes nearly three-quarters of a million dollars.

The full fundraising-expenditure-debt table is on the second page of this item. Just click the Read More line below.

-- Andrew Malcolm


Candidate                           Debt         Raised          Spent

Biden                              1,155,869 12,835,032    12,750,284
Dodd                                 395,793   18,419,662     17,175,969
Richardson                         292,726  24,411,788     24,410,486
Clinton                         25,201,722   242,683,365  216,636,698.
Kucinich                            713,306    4,545,338       4,537,956
Gravel                              177,046       590,043         585,370


Gilmore:                           140,935          404,880         388,425
Cox                                1,055,000       1,084,477      1,082,700
Giuliani                           3,658,035      65,856,966    65,696,301
Huckabee                           121,109      16,429,288    16,370,672
Hunter:                              230,447       2,690,750      2,663,655
Paul                                       0.00       35,082,970   34,433,344.
Tancredo                                0.00         8,468,203    8,246,565
Thompson                            52,593      24,154,658    23,953,447
Romney                                   0.00    113,507,779  113,447,358       _____________________________________________________________
Totals                             33,194,581   571,165,199  539,981,930


Source: Federal Election Commission

Comments () | Archives (4)

The comments to this entry are closed.

So how much does the top-job actually pay, for the candidates to want to spend this much on it? That might be the more interesting question. Where do the kick backs come from?

From a fiscal point of view, the guys with zero debt would make much better presidents than those with debt. If they can't manage their campaign finances properly, what makes anyone think they'd manage the national budget appropriately?

The kickbacks come from lobbyists and special interest groups. Most notably the banks. Any wonder why Congress wants to bail out the banks? Think about it. It doesn't make any sense otherwise for middle class taxpayers to bail out wealthy bankers and investors. Let the banks fail, Congress, and instead reduce taxes and inflation. That's the way to lessen the recession. That and bring our troops home from Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, Japan, Europe, etc. Our foreign policy bleeds money (not to mention human lives) all over the world. Yes, there are also businesses that make money off these wars and they lobby just as hard as the banks for taxpayers to line their pockets.

Do you have the figures for John Edwards' campaign funds? Thanks.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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