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Money keeps flowing for Obama

world Updated: Oct 25, 2008 23:27 IST
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri

There’s a financial crisis going on, but that hasn’t stopped New York from pulling out all stops to help Barack Obama win the White House.

The Empire State has contributed eight per cent of Obama’s personal campaign funding – more than any other state. New Yorkers have given Obama nearly $ 30 million since he began his run, roughly three times more than they gave McCain.

Even the prostrate financial sector, the Big Apple’s economic core, has given more money to the most expensive presidential race in US history.

And it’s given more of that money to the Democratic candidate.

An analysis of donors who gave more than $ 25,000 to the candidates found executives from Bear Stearns, Goldman Sachs and
Lehman Brothers topping the list.

Wall Street sees McCain as subprime: he has a third of the big ticket donors that Obama has. Obama’s big bucks are attributed to at least three factors.

One is the fervour he has been able to infuse among his supporters.

“The Democrats are very motivated and excited, so they donate. The Republicans are far less so,” says Tim Adams, of economic advisors the Lindsey Group and former policy director of the George W. Bush 2003-04 campaign. McCain’s past liberal voting record means many Republicans distrust him.

Two is Obama’s brilliant use of technology to overcome the legal $ 2300 limit on personal donations.

“Obama is raising money via the internet from small givers. His system is quite remarkable,” says Ashley Wills of Washington lobby firm WilmerHale. The Democrat has leveraged this skill to the point he nets more donations from all levels of society. Adams concurs, “Obama has developed innovative techniques, technologies and infrastructure to increase money inflow.”

Finally, he is the frontrunner and everyone prefers to put money on a winning bet.

Nonetheless, Obama’s money run is phenomenal. Not only has he upset the tradition that Republicans always raise more funds than Democrats, he has done it in style. The $ 600 million he has raised is double what McCain has. McCain, who has accepted federal election funds, is now constrained to spend only $ 84 million from September till voting day. Obama, who raised $ 150 million in September alone, has no such limits.