These and other details, gleaned from the first major spending reports of the 2012 campaign, provide a revealing look at the contrasting priorities and styles of the White House hopefuls. Taken together, the candidates burned through $32 million for telemarketing calls, posh hotel rooms, makeup artists and myriad other expenses, even with the first ballots still half a year away.
The records also help show where the candidates are focusing their money.
Tim Pawlenty outpaced his rivals by spending $200,000 at businesses in Iowa, while Romney showered nearly $750,000 on vendors in New Hampshire, where he hopes to command the field.
Then there are the extraneous but amusing details.
The campaign of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has a hankering for burgers, barbecue and farmers markets, while Pawlenty’s staff dropped more than $600 on teleprompters and cosmetic services for his campaign kickoff in Des Moines. Moby Dick Airways provided more than $500,000 worth of charter service for Gingrich, who has yet to pay most of the bill.
The spending patterns seem to back up many of the political stereotypes attached to the major candidates: Obama as grass-roots organizer turned campaigner in chief; Romney the chief executive of a by-the-books campaign; and Pawlenty the eager newcomer struggling to get ahead.
Romney, who regularly highlights his experience as a former Massachusetts governor and
equity-fund manager, spent 18 percent of his budget on administrative expenses, far higher than his GOP opponents.
He reported nearly $5.7 million in expenditures, including $1 million for administrative costs and $2 million on fundraising and outside consultants. But he still ended June far ahead of his Republican rivals, with about $12 million in the bank.
“We’re running a lean but strong campaign in order to most effectively communicate Governor Romney’s message that he is the one candidate with 25 years of real-world experience who can get this economy going again to create good jobs,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. “We will be competitive in every state.”
Pawlenty, meanwhile, has uncommonly steep payroll costs, which may be why he has gone through most of the $4.5 million he’s raised. The former Minnesota governor spent more than $580,000 of his $2.5 million in expenses on salaries, which is a notably higher percentage than most of the other candidates.
“We’re focused on building a grass-roots organization that’s focused on Iowa and New Hampshire,” said Pawlenty spokesman Alex Conant. “So we’ve invested our resources wisely in a grass-roots team that can do well in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primaries.”