Palin pick aided Obama

The Baltimore Sun

Barack Obama received a minor fundraising bump after he named Joe Biden as his running mate but raked in huge sums after Republican rival John McCain named Sarah Palin as his vice presidential nominee.

Obama raised $66 million in August, to McCain's $47 million. Obama's receipts included $22 million in contributions of $200 or less, virtually all of it sent via the Internet, Obama's latest report to the Federal Election Commission shows.

Obama also outspent his Republican rival in August, shelling out $53.5 million on everything from television advertising and mass mailings to polling, food and lodging. McCain spent $40 million but also benefited from $20 million spent by the Republican National Committee.

One of the most striking differences between McCain and Obama's August disclosures was donors' reaction to the candidates' vice presidential selections.

McCain received $8.8 million in the two days after he announced that 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, although dates for such contributions do not show up on publicly filed disclosures.

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds seized on the difference, saying Democratic contributors were disappointed that Obama "passed over Hillary Clinton, perhaps the most popular Democrat in America."

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said donations had nothing to do with Biden's selection. "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," LaBolt said.

Obama's fundraising took off once the Democratic convention started. He raised nearly $17 million between the Aug. 25 start of the convention and the end of the month. Obama's campaign has attributed at least some of the month-end activity to Democratic reaction against Palin's selection.

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 with McCain's $224.3 million.

In addition to the $66 million he raised in August that went directly into his campaign account, Obama worked with the Democratic National Committee to raise $23 million for a joint fundraising account called the Obama Victory Fund. The DNC will use that money to pay for many costs in the remaining weeks.

Obama significantly outspent McCain on television advertising last month, $32.3 million to $18.1 million. The Republican National Committee spent another $4.7 million on broadcast ads.

McCain is outspending Obama on mail-related costs - $8 million to Obama's $4 million. The RNC spent another $6.5 million on postage and mail production, its report shows. Experts say 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 Web sites. McCain and the RNC disclosed no spending specifically on online ads, and $422,000 on Web-related costs.

Like McCain, Obama received heavy support from lawyers last month - $3 million to McCain's $1.7 million.

Obama outraised McCain in the nation's banking center, New York, $2.7 million to $1.3 million.

Throughout the campaign, Obama has said he rejects the ways of Washington insiders. But he continues to out-raise McCain in the Washington-Maryland-Virginia area, $2.88 million to $2.4 million last month, and $28.5 million to McCain's $10.5 million since the campaign began.

California remains the candidates' largest source of money - $52.2 million for Obama and $17 million for McCain.

Obama's second largest source is New York, $31.3 million, compared with $8.8 million for McCain. McCain's second largest source is Texas, at $13 million. Obama has raised $12 million there.

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