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Political notebook

Santorum’s income in 2011 rose to $3.6m

WASHINGTON - Rick Santorum grew wealthy over his four years working as a corporate consultant and media commentator after leaving the Senate in 2006, his newly released federal tax returns show. He made more than $3.6 million and drove an Audi luxury sedan - details that could be at odds with his effort to attract blue-collar voters in the GOP’s upcoming presidential primary in Michigan.

Santorum, 53, has presented himself in the Republican primaries as both a social conservative and a Washington outsider, stressing his family’s coal-mining background and his appeal to religious and working-class voters.

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His personal finances detail the trajectory of a politician who became a millionaire, at times by capitalizing on his Beltway connections.

The former Pennsylvania senator’s tax returns, released Wednesday night, show that his annual adjusted gross income surged from nearly $660,000 in 2007 to $1.1 million in 2009 before slipping to $923,000 in 2010.

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Santorum’s 2008 return includes a filing for depreciation of an Audi A luxury sedan, which he drove more than half of his time as a consultant. A year earlier, his 2007 return shows, Santorum took depreciation on a Chevy Trailblazer.

His rivals, Romney and Newt Gingrich, also recently released recent income tax returns. Gingrich paid an estimated 31 percent, according to his federal returns, while Romney paid about 14 percent, a lower rate because many of his earnings came from investments taxed at the capital gains rate.

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Obama fund-raising tapping the 1 percent

SAN FRANCISCO - President Obama is preaching an economic message aimed at the 99 percent and raising campaign cash among the 1 percent, walking an election-year tightrope complicated by the need for hundreds of millions of dollars at a time of high unemployment.

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At a beachside community in southern California yesterday, fresh off a dinner where guests included actor George Clooney, Obama was in the middle of a three-day fund-raising tour through opulent homes along California’s coast - a trip to be bookended by images of the president inside factories talking up job creation.

The president hauled in $750 million in 2008, shattering records, and his campaign has outpaced his Republican opponents, collecting more than $220 million in 2011 even as it faces the prospect of hundreds of millions in counter-spending from GOP-backed outside groups.

To be sure, Obama’s campaign has mastered the art of raising money from the masses. In 2011, the campaign said it received money from 1.3 million donors, including 583,000 people who gave during the final three months of the year. More than 98 percent of supporters gave donations of $250 or less and the average donation was $55.

Yet a list of prominent donors released by the campaign shows nearly 450 well-heeled backers who have collectively steered at least $74.7 million to the president’s campaign so far. Fully 62 of them collected at least $500,000 each to give to the campaign, including movie producers Jeffrey Katzenberg and Harvey Weinstein, and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour.

ASSOCIATED PRESS
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