During his successful bid for the White House, President-elect Barack Obama raised $750 million to help him get there. In 2004, Kerry and Bush brought in a combined $504.2 million during the primaries, and took $74.6 each in public money. But since Obama made the unprecedented and controversial decision to forgo public money, he could keep raking in the money from small and large donors alike.
Only weeks before the election, Obama got some financial (and psychological) momentum when he filed his September fundraising numbers with the FEC: Barack had raised $150 million in September alone. Obama was able to use the money to buy 30-minutes of prime time TV for a special appeal a few days before voters officially went to the polls. Obama spent a total of $240 million on TV ads, compared to John McCain's $126 million and President Bush's previous record of $190 million.
With the extra money, the Obama campaign decided to pay the staff's salaries and health insurance until Dec. 31. Obama's fundraising abilities, one of the biggest stories of 2008 and will surely impact future elections.