The 2012 presidential election was the most expensive election in U.S. history. The Federal Election Committee reported that the election cost approximately $7 billion. Ellen Weintraub, the FEC Chairwoman stated that candidates spent an estimated $3.2 billion, political parties spent $2 billion, and political action committees another $2.1 billion. Observers of the election coverage undoubtedly recognized that the media often spent countless (and expensive) amounts of national airtime on seemingly far-fetched election topics that had little to do with the candidates’ policies or positions on issues. Donald Trump frequently graced the populace with his interviews with various media outlets that were aimed at garnering support for the proposition that President Barack Obama was possibly not a natural born citizen of the United States and therefore ineligible for the office of the presidency. This “birther” movement gained so much popularity, that in 2011, 25% of Americans believed the President Obama was not a natural-born citizen. While this distraction kept many people busy, another large portion of the election coverage was dedicated to Governor Mitt Romney’s release of his federal tax returns.
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