C’est une élection pas une enchère. Tucker Bounds (porte-parole de McCain)
Les élections américaines seraient-elles en train de se transformer en enchères publiques?
Quand le candidat des milliardaires à la Soros ou à la Sandler et premier bénéficiaire des Fannie et Freddie est capable de collecter 3/4 milliards de dollars (150 millions pour le seul mois de septembre!), soit le budget pub de Geico (la MAIF américaine aux célèbres pubs décalées) ou de McDonald’s, et même plus que celui de Diet Coke?
D’où, ayant refusé (contrairement au candidat républicain et à ses premiers engagements) les fonds publics et les plafonds de dépenses qui vont avec, la possibilité de noyer son adversaire sous les pubs (et les sondages au grand bonheur, on les comprend, des médias et des sondeurs!) et … d’égaler le budget des campagnes Bush et Kerry réunies!
ÉLECTION AMÉRICAINE – Obama pèse plus de 600 millions de dollars
20 oct. 2008
Les opérations de levée de fonds effectuées par le camp de Barack Obama ont apporté en septembre 150 millions de dollars (111 millions d’euros) d’argent frais dans les caisses du candidat, doublant le montant record de 62 millions de dollars déjà établi au cours du mois précédent.
Depuis le début de sa campagne, en 2007, Barack Obama a réussi à lever la somme jamais égalée de 600 millions de dollars, dont une bonne partie a servi durant les primaires démocrates. La machine mise en place à cette époque se révèle redoutable au moment où la campagne officielle pour la présidentielle bat son plein.
Le candidat démocrate a refusé les fonds publics pour financer sa course à la Maison-Blanche, il n’est donc pas tenu de respecter les plafonds de dépenses électorales fixées par la démocratie américaine. John McCain, qui, lui, a accepté cet argent, fait aujourd’hui figure de Petit Poucet face au démocrate. Sa campagne est limitée à 84 millions de dollars, un montant qu’Obama devrait largement dépasser, rapporte The Wall Street Journal.
« Cet avantage se fait clairement sentir. Au cours de la semaine écoulée, Obama a dépensé 39 millions de dollars en spots télé, contre 11,9 millions pour McCain », note le quotidien financier. Les petits donateurs continuent à affluer pour soutenir Obama : 632 000 se seraient ajoutés à sa liste en septembre, en versant en moyenne 100 dollars.
ÉLECTION AMÉRICAINE – Polémique sur le trésor de campagne d’Obama
27 oct. 2008
Les levées de fonds sur Internet, en particulier celle organisée par Barack Obama avec des résultats records, attirent la suspicion, rapporte The Washington Post. « Des avocats des partis républicain et démocrate ont demandé à la Commission électorale fédérale d’examiner la question. Les deux partis ont relevé des dizaines d’exemples de procédures qui permettent à des donateurs d’utiliser un faux nom ou une carte de crédit volée pour verser des fonds à l’un ou l’autre des candidats. »
Même si le candidat démocrate n’a reçu que 36 millions de dollars pendant la première quinzaine d’octobre, contre 150 millions au mois de septembre, les 600 millions qu’il a accumulés depuis le début de la campagne font craindre que les fraudes ont été importantes sur son site. D’autant que son refus d’accepter des fonds publics le met à l’abri d’un audit de la Commission électorale fédérale. « La crainte de voir des dons anonymes affluer a fait surface le mois dernier, principalement sur des blogs conservateurs, explique The Washington Post. Des blogueurs ont ainsi décrit leur propre tentative pour montrer les faiblesses du programme de levées de fonds en ligne d’Obama en faisant des dons sous des noms aussi fantaisistes que Oussama Ben Laden ou Saddam Hussein, ce qui n’a pas empêché la transaction sur leur carte de crédit d’être autorisée. Les démocrates ont répliqué en rapportant le même genre de problème sur le site de John McCain. »
Obama Takes in a Record $150 Million, But McCain Narrows Gap in Some Polls
Christopher Cooper and Laura Meckler
October 20, 2008
Sen. Barack Obama set a new record for presidential fund raising in September, with more than $150 million in contributions, allowing him to swamp Republican rival Sen. John McCain in spending on advertising and organizing in the final days of the campaign.
The Democratic candidate’s one-month figure is nearly double what Sen. McCain received in public financing for the final two months of the campaign.
Sen. Obama’s big haul was made possible by his decision to opt out of the public-financing system, the first time a major-party candidate has done so in the general election since the Watergate-era reforms were enacted to curb the role of money in presidential elections. As a result, he enjoys the biggest money advantage over an opponent since Richard Nixon easily defeated George McGovern in 1972.
The news comes as an average of the national polls suggests Sen. Obama’s lead over his opponent may be narrowing a bit, even as Sen. Obama remains ahead in several pivotal battleground states.
The money advantage is clearly helping Sen. Obama get his message out. For the week ending Monday, Sen. Obama spent nearly $39 million on TV ads versus about $11.9 million for the McCain campaign, according to ad-tracking data provided by a Democratic official.
« McCain is in a shouting match with a man with a megaphone, » said Evan Tracey of TNS Media Intelligence/CMAG, who tracks ad spending.
[Obama Shatters Fund-Raising Record]
Sen. Obama’s September fund raising dwarfed even the $66 million he collected in August — also a record at the time. About 632,000 new donors fired the September burst, bringing donations to the Illinois senator’s campaign to $605 million overall since he launched his campaign at the beginning of 2007. The campaign said that has come from a total 3.1 million donors, in a campaign cycle when political giving has reached new heights across the board.
That nearly doubles the previous fund-raising record of $375 million for a full campaign cycle set by President George W. Bush in 2004. And Sen. Obama has one more month of fund raising to go. In a video emailed to supporters Sunday morning, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe admonished donors to keep giving. « We’re always on the lookout for expansion, » he said.
Sen. McCain, appearing Sunday morning on Fox News, portrayed the report more darkly, repeatedly referring to the Watergate scandal, saying that was the kind of corruption that comes as the result of unlimited funds. « The dam is broken. We’re now going to see huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal. »
The donation number comes amid a spate of good news for the Obama campaign. A few hours after he released the fund-raising number, he received a potentially powerful boost with the endorsement of former Republican Secretary of State Colin Powell. The day before, Sen. Obama drew his largest domestic crowd yet of the campaign — an estimated 100,000 people — to a rally in St. Louis, the largest city in a battleground state that President Bush carried in 2004. On the other side of Missouri later in the day, he drew an estimated 75,000 people in Kansas City.
Sen. Obama leads Sen. McCain in national polls, an edge he has enjoyed since the financial crisis made the economy a central focus of the campaign — an issue where voters say they trust the Democrat most. However, the gap in surveys has slipped in recent days. According to Real Clear Politics, a Web site that averages major polls, Sen. Obama led Sen. McCain by 48.8% to 43.5% over the weekend, down from an eight-point lead he had enjoyed at the beginning of the week. A pair of surveys showed the Democrat with a weekend lead of just three percentage points, with a margin of error of plus or minus either two or three percentage points.
Sen. Obama maintains strong leads in many battleground states — enough, according to many handicappers, to give him the electoral votes needed to win the White House. Fresh polls have shown Sen. Obama to be competitive in some states, such as Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, that have been Republican strongholds in recent elections, and were thought to be leaning heavily toward Sen. McCain.
Obama campaign officials say the big September fund-raising number, which eclipsed internal projections, gives Sen. Obama the ability to exploit such popularity surges without having to rein in activities in other states. For example, the campaign bought advertising time last week in West Virginia, which hadn’t been considered competitive until recent polling suggested otherwise.
Sen. McCain, by contrast, has been forced to make tough choices and tradeoffs, cutting off spending in Michigan.
[Obama Shatters Fund-Raising Record]
By historical standards, Sen. McCain is hardly wanting for money. While he’s not fund raising for himself, he continues to help raise money for the Republican Party, which brought in a record-breaking $66 million in September, more than the $50 million raised by its Democratic counterpart. That helps narrow the gap a bit with Sen. Obama. For September, the Republicans combined raised $164.5 million that can be spent on the presidential campaign, versus more than $200 million combined for the Democrats.
Helping Sen. McCain keep up was the one-time, $84.1 million in taxpayer matching money he received in September. Sen. Obama won’t get such a one-time payment because he opted out of public financing after first suggesting he would participate, a decision that has cost him some political points.
Public financing gives candidates taxpayer money for their campaigns, but it also requires them to hew to spending limits and essentially stop fund raising for themselves during the general election. The parties can continue raising money for the candidates; however, much of their spending must be conducted independent of the presidential campaigns. By opting out of public financing, Sen. Obama is free to spend as much as he can raise.
McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said the campaign can overcome the fund-raising mismatch. « We are going to be competitive because, despite Barack Obama’s best efforts, this is an election not an auction, » he said.
The Obama campaign has also fielded criticism from Republicans for what they say is a lack of donor transparency. Federal rules don’t require disclosure of donors giving less than $200. Small donors account for about half of Sen. Obama’s 3.1 million contributors.
The Republican National Committee earlier this month filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission asking for a full audit of Sen. Obama’s small donors. The RNC cited examples that had been flagged by the Obama campaign of questionable contributions from people who made donations under names like « Good Will » and « Doodad Pro. » Republicans also criticize the scattering of donations Sen. Obama has received from foreign donors, which is illegal under federal law.
The Obama campaign said it was vetting all its donors. It’s unclear how widespread these donations are because the Obama campaign has declined to make public its list of small donors, as Sen. McCain has done.
The Obama campaign says the sheer number of people contributing to the campaign and the relatively small amount they donate on average — currently $86, it says — show that ordinary Americans have supplanted special interests as the financial engine in presidential elections.
See presidential polls nationwide and in battleground states.
That said, Sen. Obama’s fund-raising activities in recent weeks also have been studded by big-ticket events with wealthy donors writing checks to him and the party worth tens of thousands of dollars each. Those are often headlined by entertainment superstars such as Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel, who fronted an event for him on Thursday evening in New York, and Jon Bon Jovi, who did the same a week earlier in Philadelphia.
Sen. Obama’s top-line figure released Sunday doesn’t provide a full financial snapshot of the campaign. The campaign declined to release an accounting of its expenditures or to say how much cash it had on hand. The Federal Election Commission requires that information to be released by midnight Monday.
But if past months are a guide, the Obama campaign is spending money at a prodigious clip.
The money advantages show through most clearly in TV advertising, where Sen. Obama is far outspending Sen. McCain. Next week, he plans to buy a half-hour of prime-time advertising on national networks.
Expenditures from the Republican National Committee have helped keep Sen. McCain competitive in some states. Nationally, the RNC spent nearly $5 million on TV ads in the week ending Monday.
Still, in a trio of states that President Bush won in 2004, Sen. Obama’s spending has outpaced Sen. McCain’s. In Florida, he spent $4.6 million in the past week, compared with $1.4 million spent by Sen. McCain and the RNC combined, according to Democratic ad-tracking data. In Virginia, he spent $3.1 million in a single week, to $1.2 million for Sen. McCain and the Republicans. And in Missouri, Sen. Obama dropped $1.8 million, compared with just under $1 million for Sen. McCain and the RNC.
In newly competitive North Carolina, the RNC has helped Sen. McCain to keep up. Sen. Obama spent $2.1 million for the week ending Monday. Sen. McCain spent just $1.4 million, but the RNC made up the difference and the two parties were even. Similarly, the RNC made up the difference in Ohio to keep Sen. McCain nearly even with Sen. Obama, who spent about $3.4 million in that state. In Indiana, Sen. Obama spent $1.8 million in the past week. Sen. McCain spent nothing, though the RNC laid down about $700,000 so it was not a total washout.
« Presidential campaigns usually have to make tough choices: If I advertise here, I can’t advertise there. If I spend this money on TV, I can’t spend this much money on field organization, » said Ken Goldstein, who directs the Wisconsin Advertising Project at the University of Wisconsin. « Obama doesn’t have to make these tough choices. He can spend on TV, he can spend on radio, he can spend on field, he can spend on mail. »
Sen. Obama’s field operations, which have become his campaign’s trademark, are also of a size unprecedented in presidential politics, stunning even seasoned veterans such as New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
« Obama has 40 local offices in my state — 40, » Gov. Richardson, a Democrat, said in a recent interview. Gov. Richardson added that Sen. Obama’s staff isn’t just working for the party’s standard-bearer but is often canvassing for other Democratic candidates on the ballot as well. « Obama is being very generous, » Gov. Richardson said. The McCain campaign said it has about « a dozen » in that state.
The McCain campaign, working with his party’s national committee, has scrambled to catch up in newly competitive states of North Carolina and Indiana, but it has not come close to the Obama organization.
In North Carolina, the Republicans opened about 10 offices in July and another 10 around Labor Day, according to a senior McCain campaign official. But that’s less than half of Sen. Obama’s 47 offices, according to his Web site. The Republicans recently opened a handful of offices in Indiana, nowhere near the 43 in place for Sen. Obama.
In Ohio, Sen. McCain and the RNC have 45 offices; Sen. Obama has 76. The mismatch is even larger in Democratic-leaning Pennsylvania, where Sen. McCain has 30 offices compared with 83 for Sen. Obama.
Sen. McCain might not be even that competitive were he not piggybacking on established offices maintained by the Republican Party. In Florida, for example, Sen. McCain can claim parity with Sen. Obama’s 56 offices with 60 offices of his own. But most of them are bankrolled by the local Republican Party, which means the McCain campaign has less control over them, and they are required to pay attention to other races as well. The Obama campaign maintains offices separate from that of the Democratic Party.
Buzz Jacobs, Sen. McCain’s Southeast regional campaign manager, said the method plays to a long-held Republican advantage. « In this state, I think everyone would agree that the Republican ground game has been far superior to the Democrats in past election cycles, » he said.
—T.W. Farnam contributed to this article.