Obama slammed by attack ads in final weekend of campaign

Obama was hit with more than $37 million in attack ads over the weekend. Romney faced less than $1 million in attack ads.

In the final weekend before Election Day, President Barack Obama was hit with more than $37 million in attack ads; Romney faced less than $1 million in attacks, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission. Outside spenders dropped roughly $56.3 million on the presidential election on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with more than two-thirds of the ads being negative, a Center for Public Integrity analysis shows. On all federal races, outside groups spent roughly $73.3 million over the weekend. The biggest outside spender, not counting party committees and traditional political action committees, was the conservative super PAC American Crossroads, co-founded by GOP strategist Karl Rove. It reported spending nearly $23 million, almost entirely opposing Obama. In a distant second was American Future Fund, a conservative nonprofit, which reported spending $7.9 million, most of it supporting Romney. Two new anti-Obama ads, “Fed Up” and “Delphi” debuted Friday. The primary pro-Romney super PAC, Restore Our Future, reported spending $4.4 million opposing Obama. It released the ad “Flatline” on Friday. The main pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action, did not report spending any money over the weekend. An email sent to supporters indicates it is planning on making a final ad buy to continue airing “Stage,” which it says is its most effective ad of the election. The top liberal spender on the presidential election over the weekend was Planned Parenthood Action Fund with $623,000 supporting Obama and opposing Romney. Majority PAC, a super PAC supporting Senate Democrats, was the biggest overall liberal outside spender, with $2.5 million opposing Republican candidates for the upper chamber. Of the U.S. Senate races, Arizona attracted the most outside money over the weekend — $1.8 million for the faceoff between former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, the Democrat, and Rep. Jeff Flake, the Republican. More than $851,000 went to opposing Flake. The Senate race in Virginia between former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and former Republican Sen. George Allen attracted $1.7 million. More than $1 million went to opposing Kaine. It will not be known who financed the super PAC ads until after the election. The donors behind the nonprofit ads are not required to ever be disclosed. In other outside spending news:


  • American Future Fund also released “Tomorrow” opposing Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., who is running for U.S. Senate in the state.  

  • The conservative nonprofit U.S. Chamber of Commerce released an ad opposing Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for $500,000.  

  • Women Vote!, the super PAC of pro-abortion rights group EMILY’s List, released an ad opposing Republican Rep. Frank Guinta in New Hampshire’s 1st District and an ad opposing Republican Rep. Charlie Bass in New Hampshire’s 2nd District.  

  • Ending Spending Action Fund, the conservative super PAC founded by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts, released “Chillicothe,” which supports Romney and opposes Obama, and “Clear Choice,” a radio ad that supports Nebraska state Sen. Deb Fischer, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in the state.  

  • The nonprofit League of Conservation Voters released “Leaders Lead,” opposing Romney and supporting Obama for their positions on climate change.
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About the author

Rachael Marcus is a reporter with the Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit, non-partisan independent investigative news outlet, which contributes campaign finance coverage to Marketplace. For more of their reporting on money and politics go to publicintegrity.org.

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