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Hungry? Four Feasts You Could Buy for the Cost of an Obama Ticket

Pete Souza

Tickets to President Barack Obama’s Austin fundraising events range from $250 to $25,000. And while his campaign expects to net millions in contributions, that’s only an appetizer compared to overall costs of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Money is the fuel that feeds political campaigns, making these fundraising stops a little like going out to eat – except with speeches and hordes of reporters following you, some of whom recently noted President Obama eats ice cream cones with a spoon.

But in the interest of keeping it weird, we looked at what Austin food this fundraising money could buy.

  • President Obama’s first fundraising stop today is at the Austin Music Hall. Tickets start at $250. By our calculations, $250 could buy about 83 small cones of Amy’s Ice Cream– tax (and spoons) not included.
They say politics is like making sausage: A $25,000 donation would net 147 deluxe packages from Iron Works BBQ.

  • At the $1,000 level, a donor gets preferred seating. Or for that much money, you could also buy 400 Torchy’s breakfast tacos. (That should be enough to feed a few campaign block-walkers.)
  • $5,000 nets donors a picture with the president. Or alternately, five grand could get you 1,666 cupcakes from trailer success-story Hey Cupcake!

The second campaign stop, a more intimate and expensive session with the president, takes place this evening, at the residence of former Dell Computer Chief Financial Officer Tom Meredith. (His wife Lynn Meredith serves on KUT's Advisory Board).

  • Tickets to that cost $25,000. For that amount of money, a donor could buy 147 “The Works” meals from Austin’s Iron Works BBQ: 588 beef ribs, 147 slabs of baby back ribs, 294 pounds of sausage, 882 pounds of beef brisket and over 36 gallons of barbecue sauce. 

While all that grub is enough to give anyone indigestion, it pales in comparison to the staggering cost of a modern presidential run.
The Obama campaign hopes to raise $3.5 million today, which would set a state one-day fundraising record. But that pales in comparison to the overall projected costs of the entire campaign: at least $4 billion, according to Mark McKinnon, an advisor to both George W. Bush and John McCain's campaigns. Other estimates put the number evenhigher at closer to $6 billion.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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