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Sarah Palin was like money in the bank for John McCain

September 20, 2008 |  5:40 pm

John McCain saw green when he selected Sarah Palin as his running mate.

McCain raised more than $8.8 million in the two days after he announced the Alaska governor as his vice presidential pick, easily his biggest two-day haul of the campaign.

The Republican National Committee collected an additional $4.5 million on the day McCain announced Palin's selection, newly-filed Federal Election Commission reports show.

Arizona Senator and Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his vice presidential running mate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin

Barack Obama has raised more than $450 million since the campaign began, double McCain's sum. Although Obama has vastly out-raised McCain, the Arizona Republican is using his Republican Party as an equalizer.

The Republican National Committee ended August with $76.5 million in the bank, compared to the Democratic National Committee’s smaller $17.7 million. The RNC raised $23 million and spent almost $22 million last month.

The RNC has raised $157 million since the start of 2007, to the DNC’s $94.4 million. The DNC's sum was boosted with the transfer of $31.5 million last month from other Democratic committees.

In his filing with the Federal Election Commission, McCain disclosed....

...he raised $47.5 million in August, his most successful month, and spent $40.5 million. His biggest cost was advertising, $18.1 million, followed by postage at $5.4 million, and travel, $2.9 million.

The month-end money surge helped give McCain his biggest one-month haul of the campaign. He raised $6.8 million on Aug. 30 alone, the day after the Palin announcement, and another $2 million on the final day of the month.

McCain had never topped $2 million in a single day of fundraising in this presidential campaign, a review of FEC data shows.

Among his notable donors, McCain received $2,300 from Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) and $2,300 from her husband, former 1996 GOP presidential candidate Robert Dole.

Actors Dan Aykroyd and Mary Tyler Moore each gave him $2,300, and Wilfred Brimley gave $2,000.

California was McCain's biggest source of money, $3.36 million, followed by Texas at $3.32 million and Florida at $2 million. Californians also provided the most money to the Republican National Committee, $1.8 million, followed by Texas at $1.4 million.

McCain raised $2.1 million from individuals who listed their occupations as bankers, investors and in financial services.

A handful of employees at some of Wall Street’s most troubled firms donated to McCain, including $32,000 from people who listed their employers as Merrill Lynch, the investment house that was taken over last week by Bank of America amid the sub-prime lending debacle.

Attorneys gave him at least $1.7 million, and people whose jobs were in the oil industry gave him at least $400,000.

August was the final month that McCain could raise significant sums into his own presidential campaign account. That is among the conditions of his decision to accept $84 million in federal money to wage his fall campaign. He transferred his remaining cash--about $27 million--to the RNC and state Republican committees.

McCain will, however, continue to raise money for the Republican National Committee and various state Republican committees, as they are helping him in the fall campaign.

Obama, whose report had not yet been filed at this posting time, first accepted and then rejected federal funding, concluding he could raise far more on his own. Obama’s campaign aides have said the Democrat raised $66 million in August, a record for the candidate who has set fundraising records in this campaign.

--Dan Morain

Photo credit: Associated Press