President Obama’s re-election, the ”fiscal cliff” standoff, the Affordable Care Act upheld, gay marriage, and everything in between - Reuters TV looks back at a packed political year.

An activist lies in front of a police line during a protest on the streets outside the Republican National Convention.
[REUTERS/Adrees Latif, August 27, 2012] 

An activist lies in front of a police line during a protest on the streets outside the Republican National Convention.

[REUTERS/Adrees Latif, August 27, 2012] 

Private money has become increasingly important to the Republican and Democratic conventions as costs have soared over the past three decades.In 1980 the combined cost of the two conventions was just $16 million, with private funds paying for 7 percent of the total, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. That rose to $180 million in 2004, with private interests covering 77 percent of the costs. Unlike direct contributions to candidates or parties, the Federal Election Commission has ruled that convention contributions should not be subject to limits because they amount to a donation to the host city’s economy, rather than a political contribution. Those donations can get very large. In 2008, 87 percent of the $57 million raised for the Republican convention came in amounts larger than $250,000, according to the Campaign Finance Institute. Democrats raised 72 percent of their $61 million from amounts at least that big. The companies, labor unions and individuals that write those large checks are typically rewarded with access to the convention floor and hotel rooms near the center of the action, where a donor might easily run into the chairman of a congressional committee or a top campaign strategist. 

READ MORE: Democrats find it’s hard to party on the cheapPhoto: Delegates look at an image of Mitt Romney displayed during the opening session of the RNC in Tampa, August 27, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton 

Private money has become increasingly important to the Republican and Democratic conventions as costs have soared over the past three decades.

In 1980 the combined cost of the two conventions was just $16 million, with private funds paying for 7 percent of the total, according to the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. That rose to $180 million in 2004, with private interests covering 77 percent of the costs. 

Unlike direct contributions to candidates or parties, the Federal Election Commission has ruled that convention contributions should not be subject to limits because they amount to a donation to the host city’s economy, rather than a political contribution. 

Those donations can get very large. In 2008, 87 percent of the $57 million raised for the Republican convention came in amounts larger than $250,000, according to the Campaign Finance Institute. Democrats raised 72 percent of their $61 million from amounts at least that big. 

The companies, labor unions and individuals that write those large checks are typically rewarded with access to the convention floor and hotel rooms near the center of the action, where a donor might easily run into the chairman of a congressional committee or a top campaign strategist. 

READ MORE: Democrats find it’s hard to party on the cheap

Photo: Delegates look at an image of Mitt Romney displayed during the opening session of the RNC in Tampa, August 27, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton 

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s bombastic, in-your-face governor who will give the RNC keynote speech on Tuesday evening, may not be used to being an opening act but he is perfectly comfortable delivering the red-meat rhetoric that fires up conservative activists.Republican strategist Rich Galen likened Christie’s speech to the tough-talking and highly praised 2008 debut of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin: “With Christie, you get all the energy of a Sarah Palin speech without all the side issues,” Galen said. “He’ll blow the roof off the place, and that’s what the Romney people are looking for.” Christie said he had no intention of softening his signature sarcastic tone, and had not been asked to do so by Romney’s team. "I don’t think he picked me hoping I would show up and be somebody else," Christie told reporters in New Jersey. "I don’t think they have any expectation, nor have they requested that I have a personality-economy." 
READ MORE: New Jersey’s Christie has double-edged appeal in keynote speech
Photo credit: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie points from the podium as he tours the stage with television news talk show host Joe Scarborough before the start of the opening session of the RNC in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Chris Christie, New Jersey’s bombastic, in-your-face governor who will give the RNC keynote speech on Tuesday evening, may not be used to being an opening act but he is perfectly comfortable delivering the red-meat rhetoric that fires up conservative activists.

Republican strategist Rich Galen likened Christie’s speech to the tough-talking and highly praised 2008 debut of vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin: “With Christie, you get all the energy of a Sarah Palin speech without all the side issues,” Galen said. “He’ll blow the roof off the place, and that’s what the Romney people are looking for.” 

Christie said he had no intention of softening his signature sarcastic tone, and had not been asked to do so by Romney’s team. 

"I don’t think he picked me hoping I would show up and be somebody else," Christie told reporters in New Jersey. "I don’t think they have any expectation, nor have they requested that I have a personality-economy." 

READ MORE: New Jersey’s Christie has double-edged appeal in keynote speech

Photo credit: New Jersey Governor Chris Christie points from the podium as he tours the stage with television news talk show host Joe Scarborough before the start of the opening session of the RNC in Tampa, Florida, August 27, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar

Could Europe decide the U.S. election?

U.S. officials say Europe’s woes are already weighing on the U.S. economy, which grew at a tepid 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Rather than a hit to exports, the real nightmare scenario for U.S. businesses, banks and policymakers alike would be a chaotic unraveling of the euro zone’s financial system on the scale of the crash that followed the failure of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Then, banks in the United States and beyond were pushed to the verge of collapse by a seizing up of credit, strangling the global economy and more than halving the value of U.S. and global stock markets. The psychological impact demolished consumer confidence as well as the economic track record of the Republican administration, helping hand an historic election victory to Obama.

For the sake of the U.S. economy and the election that no doubt hangs on it, the White House has no wish for history to repeat itself.

Read more 


Photo credit: Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama speak while awaiting the start of a meeting on the second day of the G20 Summit in Cannes, November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

Could Europe decide the U.S. election?

U.S. officials say Europe’s woes are already weighing on the U.S. economy, which grew at a tepid 2.2 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Rather than a hit to exports, the real nightmare scenario for U.S. businesses, banks and policymakers alike would be a chaotic unraveling of the euro zone’s financial system on the scale of the crash that followed the failure of U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Then, banks in the United States and beyond were pushed to the verge of collapse by a seizing up of credit, strangling the global economy and more than halving the value of U.S. and global stock markets. The psychological impact demolished consumer confidence as well as the economic track record of the Republican administration, helping hand an historic election victory to Obama.

For the sake of the U.S. economy and the election that no doubt hangs on it, the White House has no wish for history to repeat itself.

Read more 

Photo credit: Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Barack Obama speak while awaiting the start of a meeting on the second day of the G20 Summit in Cannes, November 4, 2011. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez

U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and Democratic groups affiliated with it raised more than $53 million in March, showing a jump in fundraising over the previous month as the general election gets under way.
More than 567,000 donors gave money to Obama’s cause and 97 percent of the donations were $250 or less, the campaign said in a video released to supporters.
Fundraising by Obama groups has picked up gradually over the last three months. The campaign and its Democratic allies raised more than $45 million in February and a combined $29.1 million in January.
READ MORE: Obama, Democrats raise more than $53mil in March

U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and Democratic groups affiliated with it raised more than $53 million in March, showing a jump in fundraising over the previous month as the general election gets under way.

More than 567,000 donors gave money to Obama’s cause and 97 percent of the donations were $250 or less, the campaign said in a video released to supporters.

Fundraising by Obama groups has picked up gradually over the last three months. The campaign and its Democratic allies raised more than $45 million in February and a combined $29.1 million in January.

READ MORE: Obama, Democrats raise more than $53mil in March