Obama’s new approach to Presidential Support

The system unabashedly teaches that money is the ballot that counts and big donors are the citizens who matter. This is why a majority of Americans have become disenchanted -- to disgusted -- with politics during the past few decades.

There's been little focus on the back rooms where the money is being raised.

The predictable includes the presence of such Wall Street interests as Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Lehman Brothers, and Morgan Stanley on the top-donor lists of all three contenders--Clinton, McCain, and Obama. As Wall Street seeks bailouts and tries to stop new laws that would regulate financial manipulations, the big banks hedged their political bets, hoping to have a friend in the White House, no matter who wins.

In the ironic category is the revelation that McCain, who campaigns as Mr. Clean, actually is Mr. Soiled. His top advisors, staffers, and fund raisers are big- time lobbyists who hail from the K Street corridor of influence peddling and include early organizers and funders of Bush Incorporated.

One pleasant surprise is the wave of grassroots enthusiasm that has allowed both Obama and Clinton to raise dramatically more money than the GOP candidate. Especially in the case of Obama's campaign, big donors have had to take a back seat to the $20-to-$200 political enthusiasts. Most of them donate through his website, and many are young voters. This is money not attached to special-interest favors, and it represents a political revolt that could break the stranglehold of business-as-usual politics.

Obama, an internet-savvy senator, has simultaneously wrought a revolution in presidential campaigning through the "new politics" of online outreach, which is bringing in the bulk of his money. He has amassed more than 1.5 million individual donors, 90% of whom have given $100 or less (41% have given $25 or less), according to the Obama campaign.

[Hightower Lowdown]

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