While free-wheeeling spending is nothing new, the amount of money that people and corporations fork out in an election year has been ballooning over the past decade, even as lawmakers tried to rein in the money machine. In 2008, the Obama campaign raised more than $700 million, double what the Bush campaign raised in 2004 to defeat John Kerry.
Pundits expect that the Obama campaign could eclipse $1 billion this year. That's a far cry from the $35 million that it took Jimmy Carter to get elected in 1976, or the $50 million that it took Reagan four years later. Wondering where all that money went in Florida? You guessed it, TV and radio attack ads. Brace for it, America, because here it comes.