With Nominees Expected to Spend $500 Million Apiece, Ex-Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack Likely Won't Be Last to Bow Out for Lack of Funds
ABC By JOHN HENDREN
Feb. 24, 2007 — - Former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack's early exodus from the 2008 presidential race is likely the first of many instances of candidates leaving the campaign trail after discovering they lack the funds to compete in what promises to be the most expensive campaign in presidential history, analysts say.
Vilsack, who bowed out Friday, had a key home state and a popular anti-war message. The Democrat drew hearty applause when he told Jay Leno on an appearance on "The Tonight Show" that if elected, "We're going to bring our troops home."
"The reality, however, is that this process has become, to a great extent, about money -- a lot of money," Vilsack said in announcing his withdrawal from the race. "So it is money, and only money, that is the reason that we are leaving today."
He raised more than $1 million last year. But Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., raised $1.5 million in a single day in Hollywood last week and former Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney brought in $6.5 million in one day last month.
"Money's first and foremost, and the name of the game," said Stuart Rothenberg of The Rothenberg Political Report.
In 1952, the last time there was no incumbent in the race, Dwight Eisenhower won after spending $6.6 million in the general election. Political analysts estimate that by the time it's over this time, the Republican and Democratic nominees will have spent $500 million a piece.
"We're really entering a perfect storm in terms of presidential fundraising that is setting the stage for the most money raised and spent in American history," Commissioner Michael Toner of the Federal Election Commission told ABC News.
With outside spending from political parties, labor unions and special interest groups, Rothenberg and others expect the 2008 race for the White House to cost $2 billion to $3 billion dollars. ... full text