POLITICS
11/18/2011 06:32 pm ET | Updated Nov 19, 2011

HUFFPOST FUNDRACE - Obama's Campaign Doing Better In One Category

The Obama campaign is made of people... YouTube is more popular than TV among GOP candidates... Romney buddies had a 2002 scheme that would now be legal... How the Mormon's are trying to avoid influencing the presidential race... And not too many videos today.

OBAMA SMALL DONOR ARMY STRONGER THAN EVER -- Despite a flurry of stories abut donors to his first presidential bid not coming back, Barack Obama's small donor army is back and bigger than ever. The Washington Post's Dan Eggen and T.W. Farnham write, "A Washington Post analysis shows that nearly half of his campaign contributions, and a quarter of the money he has raised for the Democratic Party, has come from donors giving less than $200. That's much higher than it was four years ago, and far beyond what the best-funded Republicans have managed. Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, the leading GOP fundraisers, have instead embraced a traditional approach, focusing on big-dollar contributors who can fill the coffers without the high overhead costs of a campaign targeting small donations, the analysis shows." [WaPo]

NBA players have found something to do with their free time now that the NBA season is in limbo. They're playing basketball at a fundraiser for Obama's reelection in Washington, DC. Those playing include Kevin Durant, John Wall, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Blake Griffin, and a host of other past and present players.

BATTLEFIELD: YOUTUBE -- In the past few weeks Republican presidential candidates have begun to air ads on television. The number of TV ads has been remarkably low, however, as candidates have turned their focus to YouTube. NPR's Mara Liasson reports, "This year, the Republican candidates have a different approach to the media. One thing that's changed: Television advertising is starting later than usual. ... But if voters aren't seeing ads on TV, they can see them on their computers. Web ads are easy to find - mostly, they're mashups of the candidates' comments from the debates, which have been the main event of the Republican race for the past two months. ... 'It brings a lot of people who are already supporters to the site. They watch this stuff - hopefully they make contributions,' [Robert Thompson, a professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University] says. 'If you put something up that gets a lot of attention, eventually those things get picked up by CNN and Fox News and MSNBC.'" [NPR]

Ed Lee won election as the mayor of San Francisco, which gives me the opportunity to post this amazing ad that was made by a wealthy supporter for his campaign. The ad features MC Hammer, San Francisco Giant Brian Wilson, Twitter's Biz Stone, and the Black Eyed Peas will.i.am and is set to Hammer's "2 Legit 2 Quit."

CAMPAIGN VIDEOS

Committee: Republican National Committee
Candidate opposed: Barack Obama
Spot: "How Obama Describes America" -- Another ad hitting Obama for his "lazy" remark. This one presents a number of supposedly questionable statements from the president including one line that appears in many GOP ads, "I don't think they're better off than they were 4 years ago."
Link: [http://youtu.be/gMpOaUsyK2c]
Market: YouTube
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Committee: Todd Akin for Senate
Candidate supported: Todd Akin
Spot: "Getting Back to Basics with Todd" -- This web video supporting Todd Akin's bid for the Republican Senate nomination in Missouri is a pretty amateurish effort using the Ken Burns effect on the American flag and the Declaration of Independence as Akin explains his view of the American revolution as an effort to get government to "get out of the way."
Link: [http://youtu.be/1nKdZUKjXEc]
Market: YouTube
Buy: None. Just a web video.

Help us populate our list of campaign videos. Send any notable TV, radio or web ads that you see to Fundrace. We also have a thing for terrible historical campaign ads so please send along your favorites. Send your submissions to paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

ROMNEY BUDDIES BROKE THE LAW IN '02 GOV RUN -- Back when Mitt Romney ran for Massachusetts govenor in 2002 two of his friends broke campaign finance laws to help him out. David Bernstein at The Boston Phoenix describes the episode, "In the final days of that 2002 race, [Robert] Maginn, along with deep-pocketed GOP donor John Childs, secretly funded a radio ad urging supporters of Green Party candidate Jill Stein to vote for Romney. Maginn and Childs each funneled $25,000 through an attorney to a Washington front group, avoiding disclosure requirements for ads in the final week of an election. Maginn and Childs fessed up to the dirty trick after the election, when the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance (OCPF) traced the money to them. They were penalized with a laughable $500 fine." [Boston Phoenix]

On the federal level, all of this would now be legal, "While Manginn and Childs were forced to identify themselves and pay a small fine in 2002, their actions would now be totally legal on the federal level. The Supreme Court's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC) decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend freely on independent expenditures also freed certain nonprofits to act in the same way. These nonprofits are protected by law from disclosing their donors. Also, a super PAC, which would have to disclose their donors, could receive a contribution from a non-disclosing entity like an unidentified LLC or a nonprofit. In short, donors who want to hide their identity now have many legal avenues to do so." [HuffPost]

The Democratic National Committee just filed their campaign finance report covering the month of October and it contains donations from a number of celebrities including Sergey Brin, Warren Buffett, Emmitt Smith, Melanie Griffith, Eva Longoria, Vince Carter, George Lopez, Gregg Popovich, Magic Johnson, Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Frank Gehry, and Patrick Ewing.

COULD AN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGN FOR A RELIGION IMPACT THE PREZ RACE? -- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, aka Mormons, is running a massive advertising campaign to try and change widely-held negative public perceptions of the religion. Could this impact the presidential race where the frontrunner for the GOP nomination is a Mormon? The New York Times writes, "Church leaders like Mr. Allen say that the timing and tenor of the campaign have nothing to do with the political campaigns of two Mormons running for president: Mitt Romney, the putative front-runner, and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., both former Republican governors. To avoid the percep-tion that it was trying to influence politics, the church is intentionally not airing the campaign in states that have early primaries, going so far as to cancel their advertising in Las Vegas when Nevada moved up its primary, said Mr. Allen." [NYT]

GETTING TOO CLOSE TO GADDAFI -- Florida Senate candidate George Lemeiux endorsed a candidate for Montana governor who was revealed today to have attempted to obtain a multi-million dollar contract to boost Muammar Gaddafi in Washington during the height of the Libya conflict. HuffPost's Christina Wilke reports, "Former Sen. George Lemieux (R-Fla.) hosted a fundraiser this spring for a terrorism expert seeking a $10 million contract with Col. Muammar Gaddafi's government during the final months of the dictator's bloody dictatorship of Libya. The consultant, Dr. Neil Livingstone, a Republican gubernatorial candidate in Montana, spent 30 years in Washington's lobbying and intelligence industries. ... At the time of the K Street fundraiser, Livingstone was actively pursuing a contract with Gaddafi's government to help defeat what one of his partners referred to as 'the international media and political/military campaign against Libya.'" [HuffPost]

RECENT POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE REGISTRATIONS

Wisconsin Family Action Federal PAC, Madison, Wisc., Treasurer: Judith Brant.

Meritor Inc PAC, Lansing, MI, Treasurer: Mary Lehmann.

PresidentDowngrade.com, Tampa, FL, Treasurer: Nancy Watkins.

Coalition for American Values PAC, Independent Expenditure-Only (Super PAC), Mount Prospect, IL, Treasurer: Brent Downs.

RECENT INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES

FreedomWorks, $16,583 to support Richard Mourdock and oppose Sen. Richard Lugar for Senate.

FreedomWorks, $16550 to support Ted Cruz for Senate.

Send tips, hints, submissions, rumors to HuffPost Fundrace at paulblumenthal@huffingtonpost.com.

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