WASHINGTON -- It's official. For any future White House aspirant to become the greatest fundraiser of all-time, they're going to have to pass the current holder of that title, President Barack Obama, and his record of $1.4 billion raised by his personal campaign committee during his two successful runs for the White House.
The president's campaign, Obama for America, filed its final campaign finance report on Thursday covering the last two and a half weeks of the 2012 election. The report revealed that from Oct. 18 until the Election Day on Nov. 6 the president raised $88 million and spent $176 million. That far exceeded the $66 million raised by his rival Mitt Romney and the $107 million spent by the Republican presidential nominee during the same period.
In fact, the Obama campaign's fundraising power allowed it to crush the Romney camp in spending -- at least in terms of individual campaign spending. Obama's campaign spent $723 million from April 4 up to Election Day, way ahead of the total $460 million spent by Romney's campaign. Half of the Obama campaign's spending between Oct. 18 and the election -- $83 million -- went just to television advertising.
For the entire campaign, Obama raised $730 million for his principal campaign committee compared to $473 million raised by Romney. The haul for the president fell just $20 million short of the fundraising record that he set in the 2008 campaign.
But for months his campaign was shadowed by speculation that it would face an enthusiasm slide and far fewer contributions than in his first run. The Obama campaign played into this narrative by stating, repeatedly, in campaign emails to supporters that Obama would be outspent by Romney. In the end, this was only true when including the party committees, super PACs and non-profits that filled the gap for Romney during crucial periods in the summer and in the final weeks of the campaign.
The scare tactic in the fundraising emails worked, though, with the campaign raking in $690 million online, mostly through the emails, according to BusinessWeek. The email titled, "I will be outspent," was one of the campaign's most successful, raising $2.5 million.
When including the types of spending that the Obama campaign warned about in its emails, such as super PACs and other outside groups, the Republicans did outspend Democrats. The full suite of Romney committees including the Republican National Committee and Romney Victory along with various outside groups spent a combined $1.51 billion. Democratic outside groups and the full Obama group of committees including the Democratic National Committee and Obama Victory Fund spent $1.43 billion. Still, the gap is far smaller than the one the Obama camp warned supporters about.
Obama did cross the $1 billion mark midway through October when including the money he pulled in for the DNC and his victory fund. That victory committee also spent big for his election, a new development in the 2012 campaign, as it took advantage of a loophole in campaign finance law allowing it to pump money into online advertising. The Romney Victory committee used the same loophole for the majority of its online spending.
The final amount Obama raised for all of his connected committees exceeds $1.24 billion. Romney's fundraising fell just short of $1 billion with $923 million raised for his campaign, his victory committee and the RNC since he secured the nomination in May 2012.