December 5th, 2008
09:23 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama's gamble pays off

Obama's campaign brought in nearly $750 million dollars.

Obama's campaign brought in nearly $750 million dollars.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - He’s the three-quarters of a billion dollar man.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign hauled in nearly $750 million dollars during this very long and historic campaign for the White House. That's more than twice what his opponent, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, raised and it's more than what George W. Bush and John Kerry combined raked in during the 2004 presidential campaign.

In a report filed with the Federal Election Commission Thursday, the Obama campaign reported spending over $100 million during the final few weeks leading up to the November 4 election, far more than McCain.

Obama opted out of taking public funds during the September to November general election period, becoming the first candidate for president to opt out of public financing since the system was created in the 1970s. Obama gambled that he could raise more money than the $84 million McCain received in public funds. That gamble apparently paid off.

Some other numbers: The Obama campaign raised $104 million in the five weeks leading up to and just after Election Day. And as of November 24, the last day included in this report, the Obama campaign had nearly $30 million left in the bank.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • FEC • John Kerry • John McCain • Uncategorized
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. Aviator

    Let's bail out the politicians but let the manufacturing industry die off? Boy, we seem to have genuinely misguided ideas still.
    As for KJL, get over it. Your comment is nothing more than a mini hate-fest.

    December 5, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  2. Jon

    So who donated? we'll never know.

    December 5, 2008 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  3. Don

    Wow... Even with NO-bama winning, there is much hate spewing from the liberals. Why is that?

    Also, interesting that the article left out how much of that ~$750 came from overseas "interests". (Hint: it was A LOT)

    December 5, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  4. Hopeful for Tomorrow

    @david - if accepting anything other than public funding was illegal, then he wouldn't have been allowed to do it at all. I have no problem when someone criticizes the President-Elect, but at least have a rational point to make.

    December 5, 2008 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  5. Jason

    2012???? Way to be positive Kaz, he hasn't even started yet. Give him a chance, he might surprise you.

    December 5, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Success

    Just as he raised so much money for his presidential campaign, please believe that he is going to restore the prosperity of this great nation. I think we have forgotten what it feels like to have true leadership in the white house.

    December 5, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. Elizabeth

    I wonder what slogan he will utilize for re-election since the whole "change" thing is played out now.

    December 5, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  8. 3D

    God Speed, Obama . . . God Speed!

    December 5, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  9. steven

    what happens to the left over money?

    December 5, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. Bloomfield NJ

    750 Million – WOW… I’m in the wrong business my friends. I love this guy....

    December 5, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  11. Rob Kole

    Some things didn't change I guess with this election, he who spent the most won.

    Is any of that money left over to help the country now?

    December 5, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Maggie SC

    Obama would not have raised that much if it were not for people like Oprah W. One comment under Oprah snubed Palin :
    Angie December 4th, 2008 9:50 pm ET
    I've been a Baptist Christian all my life and I must say……..these holier-than-thou, hypocritical, right-wing, nutballs are what's wrong with this country. NO ONE knows for certain what the afterlife will bring…it's a BELIEF! We believe in our God, the same way, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, etc. believe in theirs! Oprah not having Palin on her show has NOTHING to do with God! Get over yourselves!
    I hate to think what this person will feel when she stands befoer her Maker becasue she is giving lip service not heart service. She could not be a Baptist Christina all her life and say the above. If Obama will put his left over money for good for thos of our coun try whao are homeless and hungry then he will have done a great thing for mankind and that my folks would be history. I would wish that he would be awared the Nobe Peace Prize for humanitarian good and perhaps he will. I will pray that he will indeeed tarn our country around and we will be the better for havinf had him as president. I do not care what color he is. The color brown is one of my favorite colors anyway. I goes very good with blue and red and white, tan and etc.

    December 5, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  13. Bruiz54

    The left over funds will either sit there and be a war chest for him for re-election, or he will use some to help out the party and that includes Hillary. Go Obama!

    December 5, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Ray in Gainesville VA

    I believe Pres-Elect Obama is not allowed, by law, to just give Sen Clinton part of the $30 million. He can help her by doing fundraisers and such. Also, I think the money sits there for him to use in the next election. If I'm wrong, someone help me out.

    I for one, will not give money to Sen Clinton. She should've gotten out the race much earlier than she did, when she knew there was a very slim chance of winning.

    December 5, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  15. Shelley

    His great fundraising is painted as sinister. It's important to remember that those dollars came from people, not lobbyists. The money comes from so many different places that it doesn't create a scenario of being beholden to anyone. I am a happy Barack donor–all $350 (over several small increments) of it. it already seems like money well spent and he's not even in office yet.

    December 5, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Andrew


    Either way you need to report your donors who give more than a certian amount, I think $100, go check out the Federal election commission website, you'll see it there.

    Let's not be naive about taking federal money, it's not like John McCain only spent his 84 million. He simply sets up a separate "compliance committee" and still raised hundreds of millions of dollars. So really they were both raising money, McCain just got 84 million dollar advantage out of all of our pockets.

    December 5, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  17. PHIL


    December 5, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. jfs Memhis, Tn


    Believe me.........If McCain thought he could have done the same.........he would have. Obama KNEW that he had a message that would attract the average voter....including me. I am one of Several million Small contributors. I gave between the primaries and the General elections about $1500. If I felt that my candidiate was TRYING to get around the system; he would not have gotten ANYTHING from me. My issue is that if there is $30 million left over why not give some back to his supporters ???

    December 5, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Connor

    Okay, first, he is a constitutional lawyer, and would not have opted out of public funding if it was not legal. Next, where do you think public funding comes least he gave people a chance to choose to donate. Public funding does not give you that choice. Also, he is not able to transfer his campaign funds to Hillary....that would be illegal. He can use the remaining funds to help local Democratic races, or it can stay in the coffers, as a start on 2012. And as for the requested help for her, it is a choice, not a requirement. You don't have to!! But is a nice thing to do for our new Secretary of State. Good for TangoDancer for contributing.

    December 5, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Nick

    Obama does have to list his donors. People can still only contribute the lists per individual. The most amazing thing is that the money he raised was from small donations. I am under the impression that he is limited on how he uses the money. An Ohio congressman got in some small trouble a few years back, if I remember correctly, for using left over money to purchase a little league team their uniforms. It counted as 'campaigning' because the rep.'s name appeared somewhere.

    I don't know if Obama can give this money to pay off Hillary's debt. I know he can give it to future campaigns though.

    December 5, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  21. Jonathan

    obama is most likely saving that extra money for his 2012 campaign.

    December 5, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Helena

    If Obama had not opted out of taking public funds, he would never have won this election. Even though in the end the Bradley Effect did not materialise and America has come some way away from racial prejudice, being a black man, he had to work that much harder, reach out that much further and campaign as though his very life depended on it in order to win. He could not have done any of this without money – and huge amounts of it. Even now, some Americans still believe he was not born in the USA!!! He took a decision which he knew would result in the backlash that ensued, but had he not done that, all those months, long painful months would have come to nought.

    December 5, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  23. Independant Guy

    S.B. Never under estimate late night show hosts and how quickly the american public can turn on someone... there still be plenty of cheap shots by plenty of hosts.

    I really think there should have been some accountability on where the funds were coming from, but it's done and not worth crying about. I'm focusing on what's going on now and what is yet to come.

    I didn't vote for Obama, but he is the next president. We will see if he as effective as everyone hopes he is. If he isn't, then we need to react approriately and not repeat the public linching policy we have had on our leaders. Then things will begin to change... not before. We all seem to think change can only happen from the white house. Reality check... change can only happen when we change how we do things.

    December 5, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  24. Andre

    I would loovvee to meet Obama's speech writing team I would propose marriage in a heart beat. Granted some of the credit goes to Mr. Obama himself.

    On the campaign fund raising it shows hes willing to take risks to achieve goals. He will not conform to norms during his presidency – how he ran his campaign proves it.

    December 5, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  25. Pat

    Nice Girl December 5th, 2008 9:34 am ET
    Barack's victory is very hard for "certain people" to accept.
    Actually, his victory is very EASY to accept. It was a result of the biggest marketing scam ever pulled on American voters. Obama's inaugural theme should be "Gotcha!"

    December 5, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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