US POLITICS

Hillary Clinton Spent $10 Million Trying To Recreate Obama’s Success

Almost 40 percent of the companies Clinton is spending money on are alumni of Obama's presidential campaigns

US POLITICS
Team Hillary's motto? Copy and paste. — (Photo: Getty Images, Photo Illustration: Diana Quach/Vocativ)
Oct 26, 2015 at 4:42 PM ET

Hillary Clinton insists she is not running for Barack Obama’s third term, but the Democratic frontrunner is spending millions of dollars trying to recreate his successful presidential campaigns, a Vocativ analysis reveals.

Vocativ’s review of campaign filings related to all companies that Obama disbursed campaign money to during 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012 reveals Clinton spent nearly $10 million on the same companies between July and September. That’s almost 40 percent of her overall spend that quarter.

Obama was the first presidential candidate to effectively use social media as a central campaign strategy, and Clinton has invested heavily in one of his major players. Clinton spent almost $2.7 million on the work of Bully Pulpit Interactive in Q3, an ad agency to which Obama paid a massive $72.7 million during his 2012 re-election run to conduct a targeted online marketing campaign. It amounted to the largest digital spend ever, and it worked: The agency raised $100 million from supporters and registered more than 250,000 people to vote.

Clinton has also turned to Obama’s former pollsters for advice. Her campaign has paid $400,000 to Beneson Strategy Group, who former senior Obama advisor David Axelrod once said “gave us invaluable strategic analysis and communications advice, without which Obama might not be in the White House today.” Beneson Strategy Group was awarded the 2013 Ogilvy Award for Government for its work on the “Obama for America” campaign.

More Website Clicks Don’t Mean Love, Just Ask Presidential Candidates

Clinton spent another $700,000 on Financial Innovations last quarter, a Rhode Island design firm which produced 80 percent of all merchandise and operated an online retail website during both of Obama’s campaigns. However, Clinton’s attempt to copy Obama’s groundbreaking campaigns goes far beyond promotional efforts. She appears to be trying to recreate many facets of the president’s campaigns, utilizing 122 of Obama’s travel, IT, event production, catering and other firms.

Republicans have been quick to criticize Clinton’s spending on private jet company Executive Fliteways, which she gave more than $500,000 in Q3. The Daily Mail was particularly critical that moments after speaking out against climate change in Iowa last July, she departed on a 19-seat jet which reportedly burns 347 gallons of fuel per hour. Executive Fliteways has three bases across New York, including one at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, minutes away from the Clintons’ Chappaqua home. The firm was also used extensively by Obama during his 2012 re-election campaign. Clinton’s campaign responded to the Daily Mail criticism of her private jet use by saying that the campaign would be carbon neutral. Reports by CNN state that the Clinton camp has yet to offset their carbon consumption.

More How Hillary Is Taking Back The Internet

Clinton paid out another $36,000 to ACS Sound And Lighting, which produced Obama’s appearance at Fort Stewart Army Base in Georgia in April 2012, and the 2015 Miss South Carolina Pageant, in Q3. She’s even copycatting Obama on relatively tiny purchases, such as spending $150 on Flag Store USA, which sells all-weather US flags. For a candidate trying her best to stand apart, Hillary is looking an awful lot like her former boss.

The Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.