Obama raises $750 million for campaign - ends up getting job

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Looking for a new job?  You might want to try Barack Obama's strategy: buying commercials, speaking at rallies, putting up a website – you know, doing a little PR for yourself.

Be warned, however. It may cost you some money.

All about the Benjamins

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Final fundraising figures are out for the 2008 presidential campaign, and if you think Barack Obama enjoyed some success in the donations world, as Phil Hartman doing an impression of Ed McMahon would say, "You are correct, sir!"

President-elect Obama raised three quarters of a billion dollars on his campaign.  And, in case you haven't been paying attention (there's a lot of stuff going on), it paid off. Obama got the job.

A step back

Let's put all of this in perspective.

Obama raised $750 million (and reportedly still has $30 million left over).  His opponent, that mavericky guy from Arizona, raised $238 million (plus he got $84 million in federal funds).

President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry brought in a combined total of $653 million for the entire 2004 presidential campaign.

Taking it a step further, Obama raised $750 million in order to get a $400,000 job. That's quite an investment. But it looks good on a resume and the perks  – such as  presidential M & M's and the Oval Office – aren't bad.

Joe's back

But if you are an average Joe, you'd better have deep pockets. Let's bring back our old friend Joe the Plumber to illustrate. The average yearly salary for a plumber (according to the U.S. Department of Labor) is just over $47,000.

So if Joe were looking to land a new plumbing job and followed the same job promotion strategy Obama used, he would spend $88 million to get the $47,000 job.

(Thanks to Monitor colleague Pete Spotts over at the Discoveries blog who figured this out. His response following the calculations? "Yeah, plumbing jobs don't come cheap.")

More stuff

Other notes about Obama's fundraising power:

His most successful month?  September.  He raised $153.1 million.

Total number of donors?  Nearly four million.

TV ads. Obama spent $100 million more on television than McCain.

Bye bye

What's the long-term impact of all this?

For one, don't expect political advertising to stop here.  It's only going to escalate, says Evan Tracey of the Campaign Media Analysis Group.

"2009 is going to be another record setting cycle," Tracey told Broadcasting & Cable.  "There's no reason to think there's going to be any decline."

And you can forget the public financing system.  Karl Rove says R.I.P. in  yesterday's Wall Street Journal.

"No presidential candidate will ever take public financing in the general election again and risk being outspent as badly as Mr. McCain was this year. And even liberals, who have long denied that money is political speech that should be protected by First Amendment, may now be forced to admit that their donations to Mr. Obama were a form of political expression," Rove writes.

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