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The Real Cost of a Presidential Campaign

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

Photograph by Richard Ellis/Getty Images

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While the candidates spend millions, so too do the super-PACs supporting them, even those behind not-entirely-realistic candidates such as Stephen Colbert. His super-PAC, Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow, has spent $281,722 of the $1 million-plus it has raised. The money went to media consulting, financial consulting, Web services, legal services, polling, and limos. Among the "real" super-PACS, Restore Our Future (supports Romney) spent $20.5 million; Winning Our Future (Gingrich), $10.7 million; Endorse Liberty (Paul), $3.3 million; Priorities USA Action (Obama), $3.1 million, and Red, White & Blue Fund (Santorum), $2.2 million.