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The Billion-Dollar Buy: The billion-dollar bust?

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Like never before, big dollars are having a big impact on politics and governance. This series examines how the new wide-open fundraising landscape will affect the 2012 campaigns. Big outside money fundamentally changed American politics in 2012 -- just not the way the Republicans who planned a $1 billion blitz to defeat President Barack Obama wanted.

Ultimately, in fact, it may have hurt Republicans almost as much as it helped. The high-dollar barrage spurred once wary Democrats to launch their own big money machine -- which ended up nearly matching the GOP's overall spending and actually put more ads on the air than the Republicans.

Mega-donors dragged out the primary and exposed Mitt Romney to damaging attacks on Bain Capital and social issues, some of the same attacks that Obama used to take him down. And outside money weakened the traditional party establishment's hold...

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At www.politico.com

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