(AFP) - The 2000
US president candidates are raising mountains of
campaign cash, but the
price of a White House campaign is higher than
ever and that is extinguishing
political stars early in the
latest casualty was Elizabeth Dole, who won nation-wide
crucial support from women voters but pulled out Wednesday
was "futile" to run against George W. Bush and his
- "It's a money game," agreed political expert
Simiatin, predicting that next year's national elections will cost
billion dollars more than the 1996 vote, which totaled 1.9 billion
- Bush has raised a record 60 million dollars 13 months
the November vote and has 37 million dollars still on hand, enough
he can refuse federal matching funds and their spending limits.
- Publishing tycoon
Steve Forbes has said he will bankroll
his own campaign for the
Republican nomination and "spend whatever
- Dole's available cash
dwindled to 850,000 dollars this
month and she admitted she had no
prospects for raising enough more to
beat the odds, which she put at
80-1 against the two top money raisers.
- On the Democratic side, Vice
President Al Gore has an
impressive fundraising record and garnered 24
million dollars this year,
but has spent heavily.
- The surge of his only rival,
Bill Bradley, has has been
credited mostly to his surprising ability to
raise nearly 20 million dollars
by the end of September.
- Simiatin, an American
University professor, predicted
that Bush will raise a total 250
million dollars for his White House bid
and Gore will follow with about
200 million dollars.
- And most of that will go to the air waves, according
to analyst Karlyn Bowman.
- "In order to get your message across you have to
buy a lot of television time which is extremely expensive," she
1996, US President Bill Clinton spent nearly 60 million
electronic media ads for his re-election bid. His challenger,
paid out some 54 million dollars.
- Advisors, pollsters, travel and
organizing armies of
volunteers for campaign events are also big money
guzzlers, but Bowman
says contributions have another important
- "An ability to raise money early on suggests to
hierarchy that you're a serious candidate and that then encourages
party to provide a lot of resources for the campaign," said the
American Enterprise Institute expert.
- Dole's pullout comes the day
after a the defeat of a
campaign finance reform bill despite the public
outcry over money and politics.
- The bill that would have banned "soft money,"
or private donations to political parties that are not subject to spending
limits. Individuals can donate only up to 1,000 dollars in "hard
an attempt to thwart influence-buying.
- Experts predict that
parties will rake in some 525 million
dollars in soft money in the 2000
elections, more than double their earnings
- Simiatin attributed
the jump to more sophisticated fundraising
strategies, particularly for
soft money and said "the Republicans
are much better at it than
the Democrats are."
- The bill shot down Tuesday was co-sponsored by
John McCain who is running second behind Bush, but was
defeated by his
party members in the Senate who blocked a final vote on
it for the forth
year in a row.
- "There's not a lot of
interest in campaign finance
reform right now," said