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Whatever his reasons, Barack Obama sure didn't choose Joe Biden for money

September 21, 2008 |  2:24 pm

Joe Biden is no Sarah Palin when it comes to fundraising appeal.

The latest campaign finance reports show Barack Obama received only a minor fundraising bump after he named Biden as his running mate, although he raked in huge sums as the Democratic CoDemocratic presidential candidate Illinois freshman senator Barack Obama picked Delaware veteran Senator Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate but got very little financial bump from itnvention closed and John McCain named Palin as his running mate.

Obama outspent his Republican rival in August, shelling out $53.5 million on television and mass mailings, as well as polling, food and lodging. McCain spent $40 million but also benefited from $20 million spent by the Republican National Committee, Federal Election Commission reports showed today.

Obama's $66-million haul in August was almost $20 million more than McCain's. One of the most striking differences was the sums they raised after they announced their running mates.

McCain received $8.8 million in the two days after he announced that Alaska Gov. Palin would be his running mate. Obama received what for him is a modest sum -- $1.7 million -- on the day he announced his choice of Biden 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.

Of course, Obama and McCain made their selections for very different reasons. McCain needed to energize the GOP base. Obama needed someone with experience, experts say.

"The base rallied to show its support by giving to the ticket,” said political scientist Bruce Cain, director of the University of California’s center in Washington, DC.

"The enthusiasm level was already higher on the Democratic side when Biden was chosen,” Cain said. Obama’s selection of Biden was intended more “to address Obama’s experience problem rather than divisions within the Democratic ranks.”

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said donations had nothing to do with Biden's selection, adding: "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.”
Obama’s fundraising took off once the Democratic convention got underway the last week of August. He raised nearly $17 million between the Aug. 25 start of the convention and the end of the month. Obama’s campaign attributes some of the month-end activity to Democratic reaction against Palin, who was named on Aug. 29.

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

The way the two campaigns spend their money illustrates other differences. McCain is outspending Obama on mail-related costs -- $8 million to Obama’s $4 million. The Republican National Committee, which is aiding McCain, spent another $6.5 million on postage and mail production last month, its report shows.

Republicans tend to be older than Democrats and prefer mail over Internet communications.

Obama is spending far more on the Internet, $651,000 on Internet advertising and $884,000 on websites last month. McCain and the RNC disclosed no spending specifically on online ads, and $422,000 on Web-related costs.

The biggest cost, of course, remains broadcast. Obama significantly outspent McCain on television advertising last month, $32.3 million to McCain's $18.1 million. The Republican National Committee spent another $4.7 million on broadcast ads.

--Dan Morain

Photo credit: Associated Press

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