The Real Cost of a Presidential Campaign

By Kirsten Salyer - 2012-03-06T16:55:54Z

Photograph by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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Among campaigns for candidates still in the race, Barack Obama's shelled out the most in salaries and benefits -- more than $17 million through Jan. 31. Rick Santorum's campaign salary expenses were the lowest, at $148,806. Mitt Romney, whose outlay came in second at $4.6 million, paid an equal amount to his top staffers. Romney's campaign manager and digital director got $6,500 every two weeks (a $156,000 annual rate), according to Federal Election Commission filings.