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The Real Cost of a Presidential Campaign

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

Photograph by Alex Wong/Getty Images

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Presidential Prices

The price tag on the 2012 presidential election is set to be the biggest ever. As of Jan. 31, total spending by candidates neared $228 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's not counting the dollars flowing from outside groups such as super-PACs. By comparison, presidential candidates in the 2008 race spent a total of more than $1 billion, up from $717.9 million in 2004 and $343.1 million in 2000. To get a feel for where some of that money goes, click on.