US Elections Will Cost $5.3 Billion

This election is likely to be the most expensive US election in history, with Democrat Barack Obama shattering previous fundraising records. But what does this mean for democracy, and will these contributions impact legislation?

In September, Democratic candidate Barack Obama broke the record for money raised in one month by a presidential candidate, raising $150 million. To date, he has raised more than Bush and Kerry did combined in the 2004 election and his campaign is spending money in ways that no other candidate has.

According to Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, “The Obama campaign has “flooded the zone” with advertising. It has a full-time “Obama Channel” on Dish Network. Ads have been inserted into video games like “Guitar Hero.” The campaign has bought a full 30 minutes of prime-time airtime on NBC, CBS, and Fox six days before the election. Fox even moved the start time of the World Series to accommodate the ad buy, provided there will be a Game 6.

Goodman is one of the few reporters in the US to raise the question of what this level of campaign fundraising and spending will mean for democracy. The Obama campaign has been claiming that most of his money is coming from small donors, but as we reported a few days ago, the bulk of his money is coming from large corporate sectors.

The Center for Responsive Politics (CPR) recently predicted that $5.3 billion would be spent on this election before it is over, making it the most expensive election to date. $2.4 billion will be spent on the presidential election alone. The CPR has documented that business interests account for about 72% of the money that has been raised so far. The non-partisan website also reports that the leading industries for campaign contributions in 2008 are real estate, insurance and finance. However, the dominant donor group by far is the financial sector, which has favored Democratic candidates overwhelmingly:

“After ActBlue, the online organization that directs individual contributions to progressive candidates, the top corporation in 2008 is once again Goldman Sachs. The global investment bank’s employees and PAC have contributed at least $5 million to the ’08 campaign. Citigroup is next at $4.2 million, followed by JPMorgan Chase & Co. at $4.1 million. The biggest-giving industry association is the National Association of Realtors, which has given nearly $3.2 million.”

The CPR also identifies incumbents as the likely winners in this year’s election. All candidates for the House and the Senate have raised $1.5 billion as of the most recent FEC filing, with incumbents having a very substantial advantage over newcomers. Executive Director of CPR, Sheila Krumholtz states:

“The Democrats’ takeover of Congress in the 2006 election quickly shifted the fundraising advantage to their side. Money follows power. The Republican Party’s longtime lead in the campaign finance game has been erased in this election, due to the Democrats’ control of the congressional agenda and their side’s more skillful use of online fundraising, especially in the presidential race.”

We will provide any updates on this issue in the remaining days before the election and more importantly, we will continue to track how campaign contributions impact legislation after the New Year, no matter which administration takes office.

Economic Justice Guide on Major Party Presidential Candidates Released

United for a Fair Economy has released a new voter guide that looks examines the two major party presidential candidates on the issue of economic justice.

United for a Fair Economy has released a voters guide that looks at the economic policies of the two major party candidates. The organization–which works to illuminate economic inequality and its consequences–is hoping that the guide will help undecided voters to “consider the principles that we [United for a Fair Economy] propose and then evaluate which candidate seems more likely to work effectively towards those principles.”

The guide is reprinted below:

Tax Policy

UFE supports progressive taxes that use an-ability-to-pay principle, with lower-and middle-income people paying proportionally less than the wealthy. UFE also supports taxing investment income at the same rate as income from work. In addition, it is important that taxes raise enough revenue to maintain the public structures, services and programs that create our quality of life. UFE has always supported preserving a robust estate tax. Learn more.


John McCain

Barack Obama

McCain’s tax policy would make permanent most of the Bush tax cuts, increase deductions for taxpayers with dependents, and lower corporate tax rates from 35% to 25%. He proposes an estate tax with a $5 million exemption per spouse and 15% tax rate.

Obama would make the Bush tax cuts permanent for people earning under $250,000, and increase taxes on people making over $250,000. He would enact new and expanded tax cuts for workers, retirees, homeowners, savers, students, and new farmers. He proposes an estate tax with a $3.5 million exemption per spouse and 45% tax rate.


Racial Wealth Divide

UFE supports policies that seek to end racial economic disparities. UFE recognizes that building wealth and assets is key to economic prosperity, and we support policies that increase such opportunities for people of color, who have been historically blocked from these opportunities. Learn more.

John McCain

Barack Obama

McCain makes very few references to race in speeches and on his website.

While Obama has spoken strongly on the topic of race, he doesn’t mention race explicitly in policy proposals.


Labor Policy

UFE supports increasing the minimum wage to make it a living wage, progressive taxes to help working people, and government investment in asset-building to help families move into the middle class. We also support legislation that allows unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively. Labor unions can reduce economic inequality by protecting the welfare of workers, and reducing corporate control over wages, benefits, and working conditions. Learn more.

John McCain

Barack Obama

McCain plans to implement temporary worker programs intended to address the labor needs of the United States in both the high-tech and low-skilled sectors. He opposes the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively. McCain has voted more than a dozen times over 20 years against increasing the minimum wage.

Obama plans to raise the minimum wage and index it for inflation. He supports the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to form more easily and negotiate more effectively.


Immigration and Trade Policy

UFE supports trade policies that help eliminate economic inequality among the populations of all trading partners with comprehensive and enforceable social, economic, cultural and environmental rules that protect the rights of the most vulnerable.

UFE supports immigration policies that advance the human rights of immigrants and that recognize and legalize this population’s contribution to our society. Comprehensive immigration policy must address and help correct the root economic causes of emigration, with special attention paid to the impact of US trade and foreign policies.

Learn more.

John McCain

Barack Obama

McCain wants to increase security along US borders, impose more punishments for employers who hire undocumented immigrants, and also supports creating paths for undocumented workers to change their status. He believes the US should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, and wants to build effective enforcement of global trading rules.

Obama wants to increase security along US borders, impose more punishments for employers who hire undocumented immigrants, create paths for undocumented workers to change their status, and work with Mexico to develop their economy more. He also wants to open up foreign markets, reform NAFTA and other trade agreements by including labor and environmental standards, end tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs overseas, and reward companies that support American workers.

Financial Crisis or Financial Plan?

A new poster from an anarchist collective in the Bay Area is raising critical questions about the support of Obama and McCain for the Wall Street bail out and illuminating what is generally little difference between the two major parties on financial policy.

An anarchist group out of the Bay Area of California has released a new poster that raises important questions about the support of Obama and McCain for the recent Wall Street bail out. The poster gives background information about some of the campaigns economic advisors and argues that both candidates supported the bail out because they are part of the status quo in Washington that has sought to deregulate capitalism. While raising the issue more provocatively than some might, the poster makes an important point about how little variation there often is between major party candidates on financial issues.

Antiwar Group Releases Candidate Comparison Including Third Party Candidates

The antiwar group United for Peace and Justice has released a new voter guide comparing five candidates for president on foreign policy and war related issues.

As part of its ongoing effort to keep the antiwar movement visible during the 2008 elections, United for Peace and Justice has produced a new voter’s guide that offers a side-by-side comparison of the five most serious candidates for president on issues of war and peace. Unlike previous guides, this one includes Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney and independent candidate Ralph Nader, as well as Libertarian candidate Bob Barr.

The comparison:


Massive Spending on Negative Ads by both Major Parties

Television advertising by the two major parties is up over 2004 and the ads being run this campaign are more negative than in 2004 according to a new review by the Wisconsin Advertising Project.

The Wisconsin Advertising Project–an entity tracking political advertising on television–is reporting a continued trend in advertising spending by the two major party political campaigns as well as a trend towards airing more negative ads. According to the organization’s most recent review, the two campaigns spent $28 million on political ads from September 28 to October 4, with over half of the money used for ads in Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. During the same week in 2004, the two major party campaigns spent only $18 million on ads.

Beyond the spending, the review also shows that the campaign has made a marked turn towards negative advertising. During the week, McCain’s campaign ads were almost 100% negative while 34% of Obama’s ads were negative. The organization reports that so far in this campaign, 73% of McCain’s ads have been negative and 61% of Obama’s ads have been negative. As a comparison, in 2004 61% of Bush’s and 34% of Kerry’s ads were negative.

Local Coverage of the Debate is all about Candidate Performance

Once again, local news coverage of the presidential debates focused more on “style” than “substance” with all of the local news outlets downplaying what the candidates said and instead emphasizing how they said it.

The local news coverage of the second debate was similar to coverage of the first debate in that it focused on style rather than substance. Much of the coverage was framed around the candidate responses to the financial crisis and how both McCain and Obama “performed.” The notion of performance is how the Grand Rapids Press began their coverage in a front page story that said the debate, “was remarkable for the dourness of its mood, for the frequently subdued demeanors of the candidates.”

The local TV coverage also focused heavily on the performance of candidates and the verbal “punches” that candidates used throughout the debate. Two of the three TV stations chose to air the following comments from both candidates, comments that are a reflection of candidate performance instead of policy substance:

McCain – “Nailing down Senator Obama’s various tax proposals is like nailing Jello to the wall.”

Obama – “Senator McCain, you know I think the Straight Talk Express lost a wheel on that one.”

Of the three TV stations, Channel 8 had the longest story on the debate with a 4 minute and 5 second piece. The only excerpts from the debate that they ran were comments from Senators McCain and Obama on their tax plan. However, the excerpt that they ran had very little information about what either candidate would do. Airing the excerpted comments from both candidates took up 2 minutes and the other two minutes were taken up by WOOD TV 8’s political reporter Rick Albin. Albin provided no analysis of the debate, only a summary of comments and positions. He did mention that the most frequently asked question he has received in e-mails over the past two weeks is “why don’t the candidates ever answer the questions during the debates.” Unfortunately for viewers, he never answers that question.

The WZZM 13 story was much shorter, with only a two-minute story from the ABC network. In this story, the economy was the primary issue that the ABC reporter focused on, using edited comments from both Senator Obama and McCain. The only concrete policy presented in this story was a comment from Senator McCain where he said he would require his Treasury Secretary to bail out beleaguered homeowners. The only other issue raised by the candidates in the story was when Senator Obama made comments about McCain’s position on Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, comments that had no context.

The WXMI 17 story was 3 minutes and 40 seconds long and featured several excerpted comments from both candidates, again with an emphasis on the economy. The only content that was different than what the other two stations aired was their inclusion of closing comments from the debate by both McCain and Obama. In the closing comments, both candidates spoke to how “great America is” and how both of them would be the better candidate in continuing the country’s greatness.

The Grand Rapids Press coverage included five articles, but four of the five focused on candidate style and performance, not on issues. The lead story even decided to point out the “decibel level” of the candidates during the debate, as if how soft or loud they spoke was significant. The lead story also made a point of telling readers that neither candidate spent any time bringing up the issues they both have focused on in recent TV ads, Senator Obama’s relationship to Bill Ayers and Senator McCain’s involvement in the “Keating Five” scandal.

There was a second Press article on the front page of the paper that was based on what local debate viewers thought of the second debate. The story included a separate box where debate viewers could rate the candidate performances. This box for rating the debates was headlined with the word “Ringside,” furthering the idea that the debates are a spectacle akin to a boxing match.

A third Press article appeared on page A4 with the headline, “Contrast in candidates’ body language stood out.” The article is based upon the comments of two body language experts, one based in California and one from Atlanta. A fourth debate article in the Press was headlined “Round II: It’s all for nothing,” a story that focused again on performance. At one point the article stated, “Obama wasn’t about to let McCain beat him at small game hunting. The result: At a time of crisis and uncertainty, the nation heard 90 minutes of often-petty bickering between the two men who would lead the nation.” While this comment might be an accurate reflection on the lack of substance in the debate itself, it does not address the fact that most major news media coverage of the presidential race only perpetuates the partisan “bickering” instead of providing the public with good analysis.

The Grand Rapids Press did run one Associated Press story that questioned the comments of both candidates and provided some fact checking on six comments from the candidates. You can find a more detailed fact checking account at the Annenberg Political Fact Check site, which has been verifying claims from candidates since the presidential race began.

Other good sources for critiquing the second presidential debate are a recent articles on Counterpunch and Alternet. In addition, there is an interesting piece from the Colombia Journalism Review that talks about the format for the second debate and what the candidates agreed to. The CJR writer provides readers with a sample of a 31 page memorandum of understanding from the Commission on Presidential Debates on what the candidates agreed to, which included the following:

– The in-studio questioner must not deviate from his or her question and cannot ask a follow-up question. Their microphones will be turned off after they ask their questions.

– The moderator cannot ask a follow-up.

– The camera cannot show the reaction of the questioner.

This leaked memorandum of understanding is another indication that the presidential debates are highly staged events that have little to do with providing the public with an opportunity to take an active role in the electoral process.

Obama and McCain Give Detailed Interviews on Iraq

As part of a recent article on the their Iraq policies, Barack Obama and John McCain recently gave detailed interviews explaining their position on Iraq. Both candidates make it clear that they have no intention of ending the US presence in Iraq.

Earlier this week, The New York Times published an article titled “Rivals Present Sharp Divide on Iraq Goals.” The article–while an interesting examination of the two major party candidates’ positions on Iraq–is based on two lengthy interview with Barack Obama and John McCain. The New York Times has put the interviews online, offering a detailed view of what the two campaigns think about Iraq. Once again, the interviews make it clear that neither candidate intends to end the US presence in Iraq.

Some interesting excerpts from the interviews follow:

McCain on Iraq

Q: Are your views converging with Senator Barack Obama? And what do you think the main differences are?

A: I think nothing could be more astonishing to me than people who are saying that his and my position have converged. He still wants a set date for withdrawal regardless of conditions. I have always said, when you win wars, when you defeat counterinsurgencies, you withdraw. But the fact is it’s based on conditions on the ground. Gen. Petraeus — change of command — he pointed out as strongly as he could the fragility of all the success that we’ve achieved. So, I am amused and entertained and puzzled by anyone who asserts that somehow our basic positions are right. First of all, Sen. Obama’s first position they’d have been out in March of 2008. The goal post as it has on his whole view of the surge, he said that — we were “beyond our expectations.” It wasn’t beyond my expectations. He was wrong. So, the fundamental difference remains between myself and Sen. Obama. And it is a gap that is as wide as there could possible be for anyone who understands warfare, that he wants to set a date for withdrawal without any regard to conditions on the ground. As I said, the surge would’ve never had a chance to succeed if we’d had his first position which was: out in March 2008 — completely. So again, I’m entertained and amused at because anybody who thinks that there is any convergence in our positions does not understand the fundamentals of warfare. One of the differences is he wants to come home in defeat; I want to come home with victory and honor.

Q: Why do you reject the argument that troop withdrawals would force the Iraqi government to overcome their political differences?

A: I reject it because if we announce this “troop withdrawal,” the first thing they’re going to do is make adjustments to the conditions that would prevail when we left. They have to stay there, not only them but other countries in the region. They would make adjustments to accommodate to the Iranians, to al-Qaeda, to the different factions, warring factions within Iraq. And you would have a chaotic situation. The only reason, in my view why we have succeeded in Iraq is because the enemy knows that we’re going to defeat them. Not that we’re going to retreat. Not that we’re going to surrender. Not that we’re going to set a date for withdrawal. And the key to this is, we would not be discussing this issue if we had withdrawn.

Q: Well isn’t the Iraqi government itself setting a goal for withdrawal?

A: The aspirational aspects of this are very clear. I have always said that we can withdraw with victory depending on conditions on the ground. It is clear that Prime Minister Maliki has got elections in mind and other things in mind but I also have also talked to the Foreign Minister, I have also talked to the President, and others, and they agree with me on the conditions based; and everything I’ve heard about their negotiations said it will be conditions based.

Q: Have you talked to them since the SOFA agreement was drafted?

A: No I have not. But I have talked to Petraeus and Crocker.

Q: And what do they say?

A: Well they say that it will be based on conditions on the ground. They adamantly state that’s their position.

Q: Did they say that’s the Iraqi position?

A: Well obviously there are mixed messages. As I said, the President of Iraq, the Foreign Minister of Iraq and others have all said one thing. Prime Minister Maliki, in all due respect, on occasion has, as sometimes politicians do, has sometimes said one thing in public and another in private, but again the positions that Senator Obama and I have are radically different. His was the popular position at the time. Mine was the unpopular position at the time. That makes me believe because of his vote to cut off the funding for troops while they’re there makes me convinced that Sen. Obama believed this was another political issue.

Obama on Iraq

QUESTION: How does your vision differ from Senator McCain’s?

A: It is hard for me to tell because Senator McCain has a tendency to speak in very broad terms about victory and success in ways that for example General Petraeus does not. Just recently he was quoted as saying, “I don’t speak in those terms. I am a realist.” Well so am I. And that’s exactly what I think we need when it comes to our policy in Iraq: some realism.

QUESTION: You have made the argument that the withdrawal of American combat brigades would be a form of leverage that would encourage political progress in Iraq. Can you give me an example of how the withdrawal of American forces has prompted political change in Iraq?

A: It is not clear that an ongoing, open-ended presence has prompted political change in Iraq either. The fact of the matter is that we still don’t have an oil law. We still don’t have provincial elections. We haven’t dealt with Kirkuk, and the argument for staying is that we haven’t made sufficient political progress. So it strikes me that for us to deliver a message of clarity to the Iraqis and to the surrounding countries that we are not looking at a permanent occupation, but we want to partner with you to structure a stable and secure Iraq — that actually will force the Iraqis to make some decisions that they would not otherwise make.

Now, in some ways, this question has been overwhelmed by events because we now have the prime minister of Iraq suggesting that we should have a timetable. And so the question now becomes if President Bush and John McCain both have argued that our presence there in that sovereign country is based on their desire to see us maintain operations there, and they start saying we would like to take on more responsibility, it seems to me that in part has put us in a position where we need to start figuring out how that is going to work in the most effective way possible.

QUESTION: You have mentioned that your proposal to withdraw combat brigades within 16 months was developed in consultation with military experts. When you were in Baghdad did you ask General Petraeus how he assessed the feasibility of your plan, the pluses and minuses?

A: We had a wide-ranging conversation. We backed into that question because essentially what I wanted to do was to give him a chance to describe for me what he thought needed to happen and what Ambassador Crocker thought were the developments on the ground. And then I pushed back by suggesting that without drawing down our troops in some careful, strategic way that we would not be able to deal with the problems that I had just seen in Afghanistan before visiting Iraq. So we had that back and forth. And my conclusion, which is something that I said to him and which I certainly don’t think he necessarily disagreed with is that his job up until his move to CENTCOM [Central Command] was to focus on Iraq. His job was not to focus on Afghanistan or Pakistan or the other strategic issues that we faced in the region. And so I don’t fault him for wanting maximum flexibility in his theater of operations any more than a general who was reporting to him or a commander on the ground who was reporting to him in Iraq might say I want as much as I can get to accomplish my mission in Ramadi or down in Basra or what have you. But he had to make choices within Iraq based on overall strategy and the fact what we have got finite resources. The same is true when you look at our overall national security situation. I have got to figure not only how do we stabilize Iraq but also how do we succeed in Afghanistan, and when the commander on the ground in Afghanistan tells me we need more troops and more resources, and you have got Admiral Mullen saying I don’t know to get those troops there unless we start drawing down from Iraq that is something I have to think about. I have to think about the fact that given our current levels of deployment our military is stretched very thin, and that if we had a sudden situation, let’s say in North Korea right now, we’ve got some issues. And that is before we start talking about the expenditures involved at a time when the administration just announced that they want a $700 million credit line. So that is the lens through which I view the situation in Iraq. And that is in no way — in no way does that reflect any unwillingness to consider General Petraeus’s views. I think he has performed with extraordinary ability in Iraq.

QUESTION: Even after the combat brigades you would maintain a residual force in Iraq for counter-terrorism and training missions. What would the elements of this force be? Would if include Special Operations forces, close air support, would it include attack helicopters? Would it include Medivac?

A: It would likely include all of the above. This is an example of where I would be asking the commanders on the ground, having set the mission, which is to prevent Al Qaeda from reconstituting itself and protecting our mission there, our embassy, and potentially the training functions. That question for the commanders would be: “What resources do you need to accomplish this mission?”

QUESTION: Richard Danzig, who people say may serve as your Secretary of Defense if you are election, has said that such a force could be in the range of 30,000 to 55,000 troops. Is that a range that you are comfortable with.

A: I have tried not to put a number on it.

QUESTION: But he put a number on it.

A: Richard is a smart guy, who is communications with commanders on the ground, but this is an example of where I don’t believe in jumping ahead of commanders.

QUESTION: But there could be combat elements in Iraq even after the combat brigades are gone?

A: Look, what I have said is that over the course of 16 months we will have removed our combat forces. In the sense that brigades and battalions that are designed to engage an enemy in an offensive way a war as we understand it would have been brought to a close. But if you are in an environment where remnants of Al Qaeda might still be operating then they still have some combat capability — they better. If we have some Special Forces in the region they are going to be engaging in combat taking out any potential terrorist camps. If we have got trainers in the field who are training Iraqi security forces then I want to make sure that they are protected and part of that means when you are in a dangerous neighborhood that you have got some combat capability. But that’s different from their purpose for being there: engaging in combat operations.

PBS Journalist Speaks on the Presidential Elections

Last night, PBS journalist Ray Suarez spoke on the 2008 presidential elections at Fountain Street Church. Suarez shared his insights on the campaign, describing it as one based on personalities rather than issues.


Last night at Fountain Street Church, longtime journalist Ray Suarez–a senior correspondent on PBS’ News Hour–spoke as part of Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Diversity Lecture Series. Suarez’s talk focused on the upcoming presidential election with Suarez sharing his insights on the campaign, the focus on candidates’ personalities, race, and religion.

Suarez began by talking about how exciting this election is–calling it the most exciting of his career. He said that while there is still a month left, polls are starting to indicate that Democratic Party candidate Barack Obama is establishing a substantial lead. Still, he said that it is astonishing that the election was ever this close. He expressed surprise that with Bush having such low approval ratings, the weak economy (which Democrats have an advantage on), dissatisfaction with the government, and significant public opposition to the Iraq War that the election is so close when the Republican candidate is so closely tied to those policies.

Suarez argued that the Republican “brand” has problems connecting with voters and that polls repeatedly show that people have a hard time feeling like Republicans care about them. Consequently, this has been more of a “personality” campaign than an issue based campaigned. Iraq–which everyone thought was going to be a major issue–is hardly discussed, while the two major party candidates are also not offering particularly detailed proposals on the economy. Instead, the two candidates are focusing on their biographies and repeatedly saying “this is who I am and how I am like you.” Consequently, the public is hearing about McCain’s captivity in Vietnam, Obama’s past as a community organizer, Palin being a hockey mom, and Joe Biden’s wife–none of which offer any kind of policy prescriptions. The candidates are aiming for a “regular guy” appeal more than issues. Suarez said we see this with the vice presidential candidates, with Biden talking about being from Scranton even though he hasn’t lived their for years and Palin saying that she is middle class even though she makes four times as much money as what one would earn to be consider middle class. According to Suarez, these are all part of carefully designed campaign strategies to win over voters.

Suarez also talked about the role that race has played in the campaign, although he reminded the audience that it has played out in subtle ways. Instead, Suarez said that the public is getting a number of “pseudo-controversies” about Barack Obama that serve as proxies for race–Obama’s “missing” birth certificate, questions about his father’s religion, and concern about the time Obama spent in Indonesia. While it is unknown how much race will play in the final vote, many of these questions are being used to confer the status of “the other” on Obama and raise questions about his capacity to lead.

Finally, Suarez talked briefly about the role that religion is playing in the campaign. He said that as an issue, religion probably reached its high mark in the 2004 presidential campaign. In this election, Obama is willing to talk about religion while McCain is more uncomfortable doing so, a change from typical stereotypes about how Democrats and Republicans deal with faith. Despite his willingness to talk about faith, Obama has consistently been asked to prove that he is a Christian. Moreover, there are questions about what kind of Christian he is–a reference to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright–which the Republicans seem increasingly willing to exploit. There has also been persistent “chatter” about Obama being a Muslim by the right, who use it as another way to project “otherness” on Obama. For many on the right, they know that raising the issue in the current political climate means that it is only a short step from Muslim to terrorist.

Suarez concluded by reminding the audience that no matter what is going on in the campaign, there is no doubt that the next president is going to face serious issues–the Iraq War, the health care crisis, rising prices on almost everything, stagnant wages, and a growing national debt. Suarez left it up to the audience to ponder whether these issues are being addressed in the campaign.

Obama Campaign Outspending McCain in Michigan

The Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee are outspending McCain and the Republican National Committee on television ads in Michigan according to a new review by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network.

Last week, looked at local ad spending by the two major party political campaigns and found that the Obama campaign outspent the McCain campaign on television ads in Grand Rapids in September. <a href=";.A new review by the Michigan Campaign Finance Network has found that this is true on the statewide level, with the Obama campaign spending $5.5 million on TV ads compared to $3.6 million spent by the McCain campaign. Even when money spent by the Republican National Committee–which has spent significant amounts to bolster McCain’s campaign–and the Democratic National Committee is factored in, spending on Obama ads far outpaced McCain ads ($6.6 million to $4.7 million).

McCain Campaign Shifting Resources Out of Michigan

On Thursday, various news sources reported that Republican presidential candidate John McCain is shifting resources–including staff and advertising–out of Michigan in an apparent recognition that he is no longer competitive in the state.

On Thursday, several news sources reported that Republican John McCain’s campaign is largely abandoning efforts to win in Michigan. McCain’s campaign has confirmed the move, although many news reports are conflicted as to what that really means. The original report on says that McCain is sending most of his Michigan staff elsewhere and will stop running television ads and doing direct mail advertising. According to, the Republican National Committee (RNC) will still run advertisements in Michigan.

Here in Kent County, Kent County Republican Committee Executive Director Sam Moore sent out an email to “Kent GOP Supporters” explaining the situation. In the email, Moore says that McCain’s campaign “made a strategic decision yesterday to shift some resources from Michigan to other states as he continues to shore up support for a victory in November.” Moore put a positive spin on McCain’s campaign by saying that McCain is best when he is behind:

“Senator McCain is at his best when he is trailing in the polls, we have seen this time and time again and we will continue to work hard in Michigan to ensure that the race remains close. In 1990, no political observers thought John Engler would defeat incumbent Governor Jim Blanchard, but we did. Many thought John McCain’s presidential campaign was over this past summer, but he proved once again, he is at his best when he is behind and we anticipate this to be the case again.”

Moore went on to argue that as the United States hears more about Obama’s policies, voters will turn to McCain.

According to the latest poll, McCain trails Obama by ten percentage points in Michigan.