A word of warning to swing-state voters who have suffered through an onslaught of attack ads this summer: The worst is yet to come.
Federal candidates and their supporters are gearing up to unleash up to $3 billion worth of advertising and other expenditures over the next nine weeks, drowning battleground areas in political ads and setting loose legions of canvassers aimed at getting out the vote on Nov. 6.
In the presidential contest alone, President Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney and their allies are poised to spend well over $1 billion from now to November, much of it focused on the handful of swing states that are likely to decide the election, according to a Washington Post analysis of campaign finance reports and other data.
The frenzy is likely to make 2012 the most expensive election in U.S. history, due in part to a new breed of super PACs and nonprofit groups that can raise unlimited funds for elections. The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in politics, estimates that federal campaigns and their supporters will spend nearly $6 billion in the 2012 cycle, surpassing the $5.4 billion watershed reached in 2008.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich broke with Mitt Romney and other Republican leaders Sunday by defending the right of Missouri Rep. Todd Akin to stay in the U.S. Senate race despite his widely condemned remarks on rape and pregnancy.
"I just think people ought to be a little cautious about saying the voters of Missouri don't count," Gingrich said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Akin, a Tea Party-backed candidate who won the GOP primary last month to challenge Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, has rejected calls to step aside.
On "Meet the Press," Gingrich said Republicans would be in a stronger position in the abortion debate if the media gave more attention to what he described as the extremism of the Democratic Party's stance on the issue. "I think Todd Akin was the choice of the people of Missouri, and Todd Akin has publicly apologized," Gingrich said.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
House Speaker John Boehner's fundraising haul during the August recess -- roughly $4 million over four weeks -- brought his total to a dizzying $84 million in just less than two years, believed to be the biggest amount raised by a speaker in a single election cycle.
Boehner, R-Ohio, surpassed Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the former speaker and Democratic leader whose fundraising prowess has long been admired and envied by Republicans. Pelosi has raised $65 million for House Democrats during this same period, including what aides say was $6.8 million in August.
Democrats say the numbers are not apples to apples because Boehner's total was accrued through an accounting that considers direct mail appeals, money raised for multiple entities, while Pelosi's total is exclusively what she has raised for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
NEW YORK TIMES