The Best Candidate Money Can Buy? Are we putting a bit too much emphasis on how much money White House hopefuls have raised so far? Is there a danger that a focus on bank accounts will distract voters from the important issues involved?
NPR logo

The Best Candidate Money Can Buy?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9458656/9458657" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
The Best Candidate Money Can Buy?

The Best Candidate Money Can Buy?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/9458656/9458657" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LIANE HANSEN, host:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

DANIEL SCHORR: Amazing race.

HANSEN: NPR's senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: I said amazing race, the campaign, not the hymn. The budding election campaign has come to look as though it will be settled not by who makes the most appealing arguments but who raises the most money. So until last week, Senator Hillary Clinton was regarded as the almost inevitable choice for Democratic nominee.

But then came reports of money raised during the first quarter of this year, and lo and behold, Senator Barack Obama had raised about $25 million, nearly matching Senator Clinton's 26 million. And all of a sudden, The Wall Street Journal was talking of a hot primary race. On the Republican side, Mitt Romney pulled ahead with $20 million.

It begins to look now as though the contest for president will be dominated almost completely by money as America heads into its first billion-dollar campaign. That being so, it strikes me that a lot of time and effort are being expended on money-raising that could well be saved for the general election.

I have a suggestion to make, namely that the primary election be abolished altogether, but that the nomination be awarded to the candidate who has raised the most money. That way, we spare ourselves the anxiety of having to worry each quarter about who has come up from behind. That should satisfy almost everybody, except maybe the television networks, which stand to lose millions in payments for political ads.

Come to think of it, I'm not sure that my idea should be limited to the nomination process. I could envisage that on Election Day, the Federal Election Commission, at a preordained moment, opens the envelope and announces a name of our next president. Maybe the Supreme Court could preside over the process. No, that's a bad idea. There's no telling who would be elected by our justices. But awarding the election to the biggest bankroll would certainly give us the best president money could buy.

This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.