Romney, Obama holding far fewer full-fledged campaign events
Both candidates have spent a lot of time fundraising. Although a great deal of fundraising occurs over the phone and in one-on-one meetings, large mid-level fundraisers costing $2,500 per person to high-dollar events requiring $50,000 a plate are prominent on the candidates' campaign schedules. Romney has held seven publicly announced fundraisers in the past 10 days alone, including a dinner in Texas on Tuesday costing attendees up to $100,000. Thursday, Mr. Obama is attending a fundraiser in Florida, charging up to $75,800.
"It's not as though he's not working," a Romney campaign aide said, adding that Romney is at a distinct disadvantage running against an incumbent president, who didn't have a competitive primary, unlike Romney who didn't clinch his nomination until April. "We have to hold finance events to be competitive [and] that takes up a good deal of time to raise the hundreds of millions of dollars to run a competitive campaign."
Much of the money goes to television advertising. It's still the most expensive medium but the easiest way to reach a large swath of voters, especially the undecided who are less likely to attend a campaign rally.
Television is the "real money pit" but an effective way to reach "undecided voters [who] are only casually engaged," Schier said.
It should be noted that both Romney and Mr. Obama are expected to step up their campaign schedules in the coming weeks, as the election draws closer. Romney has already announced a three-day bus tour through Ohio next week. But that doesn't change the fact that the trend this year is more fundraisers and fewer campaign rallies.
"The danger is candidates are going to spend so much time on fundraising they're not going to have time for voter outreach and American elections get taken over by money," said Darrell West, director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution.
Schier added that if this year's trends become de rigueur for future presidential campaigns, he doesn't "think we'll see the '04 campaign style again."
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