Romney vs. Obama: Where their money goes

Here's a look at President Obama's and Mitt Romney's homes, cars and clothes closets.

By Stacy Johnson Oct 15, 2012 11:57AM

This post comes from Renee Morad at partner site Money Talks News.


Money Talks News logoAs the presidential race heats up, Americans are trying to assess the spending priorities of President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney on everything from Social Security to health care.


People putting political symbols in box Comstock Images/Getty ImagesWe're tuning in to speeches, debates and news articles to understand the presidential candidates' values. But as we consider what these men will do with taxpayers' money, perhaps we can learn something from how they spend their own.


Romney's net worth is estimated at $250 million; Obama's is about $11 million. Here are some details about their big purchases over the years.




Mitt and Ann Romney own a 3,009-square-foot Mediterranean-style beachfront property in La Jolla, Calif. Romney purchased the home for $12 million in 2008. The house, built in 1936, has three bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms and a deck with a lap pool and spa. But it may not be there for long. In 2011, he filed an application with La Jolla officials to bulldoze the single-story home and replace it with a larger, two-story home.


The Romneys purchased a 13-acre property on the shore of Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., for $2.5 million to $3 million in 1997. The main house is 5,400 square feet, and there's also a boathouse (valued at $630,000) and a horse stable with guest houses above it. The assessed value of the estate was $8 million in July. 


In addition to his California and New Hampshire homes, Romney bought a 2,100-square-foot, two-bedroom townhouse in the Woodlands at Belmont Hill, in Massachusetts, for $895,000 in June 2010. In the past, Romney owned a larger estate in Belmont, Mass., which he sold for $3.5 million in 2009, and a ski home in Park City, Utah, which he sold for about $5.25 million in 2009.



Obama and first lady Michelle own a 6,199-square-foot brick home in Chicago. They purchased the property, built in 1917, for $1.65 million in 2005.


That's the only home the Obamas own. However, the New York City apartment he rented while a student at Columbia University in the 1980s was recently on the rental market, according to Zillow -- with a price tag of $2,400 a month for two bedrooms and one bath.



Back in February, Romney discussed his family's collection of cars during a speech in Detroit.


"I love this country. I actually love this state. It just feels good, being back in Michigan," Romney said. "I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck, so I used to have all three (major automakers) covered."


According to CBS News, Romney's campaign quickly issued a clarification explaining that Ann's cars are 2007 and 2010 Cadillac SRX models, and that one of them is at the family's house in California, while the other is at their Massachusetts residence.


To accommodate his car collection, there have been rumors that Romney plans to build a "car elevator" for his four-car garage during his California home renovations.



Obama leased a fully loaded 2005 Chrysler 300C when he was a U.S. senator. He ditched the Chrysler in the summer of 2007 when he launched his presidential campaign and decided to lease a more fuel-efficient 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid. 


According to used-car authority Kelley Blue Book, Obama's former Chrysler 300C is valued at $19,142. In early 2009 when Obama took office as president, veteran eBay car seller Lisa Czibor, who lives near Chicago, tried to sell the car for $1 million -- with the help of a posted photo of the car's title in Obama's name.


As for the Ford Escape, it was returned to the Illinois dealership in 2010. The vehicle was put up for auction, but no further details were released.




Mitt Romney's longstanding reputation for wearing tailored suits and ties traces back to his early days at Bain Capital. Back in 2007, when Time magazine put Romney on its cover, the headline read, "Sure, he looks like a president."


More recently, however, Romney has been opting for Kirkland-brand dress shirts that cost $18 at Costco, prompting speculation that he's trying to better relate to everyday Americans on the campaign trail.


Ann Romney claims she's an avid Costco shopper as well, but has also been seen sporting pricey attire: Her $990 Krakoff T-shirt drew criticism this spring after her appearance on CBS' "This Morning."


In August, a knee-length Oscar de la Renta dress Ann wore during a speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., also created buzz. The Financial Times' fashion editor said the dress cost somewhere between $2,090 and $2,490. 



Obama has made appearances in suits that cost an estimated $1,500. But that's nothing compared with Michelle Obama's occasional splurges. She wore a $6,800 jacket from designer J. Mendel to a reception at Buckingham Palace for the opening of the London Olympics, for example.


During less lavish soirees, Michelle is often dressed in a more subtle fashion, such as a dress by Tracy Reese paired with pumps from J. Crew. The dress has not yet been produced, but similar versions cost $395 to $450.


It's worth adding that Michelle's fashion often comes without a price: She sometimes receives wardrobe items from top designers like Jason Wu for free, months before the fashion lines hit stores. Oh, the luxuries of being first lady.


More on Money Talks News and MSN Money:


Oct 15, 2012 5:32PM
"Romney vs. Obama: Where their money goes"

I don't care what Gov. Romney does with 'his' money,..but I do care what Obama does with 'our' money.

Oct 15, 2012 12:31PM
I have a low credit score, I own my on home, 2 nice cars, a boat, 2 4-wheelers and we go on vacation every year. I have NO debt, I have NO checking account, I do have a savings account. I pay everything with CASH, bills, groceries, and all incidentals. No hassle, NO BANKS! CASH ONLY
Oct 15, 2012 5:26PM
One guy made money off building up new businesses, Staples, Sealy etc.

The other other guy made money off politics....he never did anything in life that would merit him having the money to buy million dollar homes, he just ran for office and wrote a fictional biography with "composite characters" lol, and the media hype was enough to make him a millionaire.

America needs a lot more of the first kind.

Oct 15, 2012 5:49PM
From what I just read, it is quite apparent that Mr. Romney is the "most successful" of  the two gentlemen.  My Dad once told me, "Son, as you go through life, you will never work for a poor man".  "The people that will offer you a job, and a career, are more-than-likely wealthy folks, who have worked hard throughout their lives to earn their money".  Mr. Romney has earned many paychecks, and Mr. Romney has made many paychecks.  I honestly do not mean any disrespect, but Mr. Obama has never had a real job.  Mr. Obama has never earned a paycheck in the 'real world', nor has he ever made a paycheck to an employee.  Both men seem to be nice people, but I will vote for the man who obviously has the greater business acumen.  In reality, our Country is a business.  The 'running of our Country' demands that we have someone with a strong business background at the helm.
Oct 15, 2012 5:27PM
The Obama's just bought a $35 million estate in Hawaii.  Not bad on a President's salary.
Oct 15, 2012 5:56PM
Who cares what kind of house they have, car they drive or what kind of shirts they wear ..none of it
is a determining factor in the upcoming election. If one is choosing candidates by any of those attributes then we're in worse shape than we thought.

Oct 15, 2012 6:08PM
What in the world is the purpose of this article?  Who cares how they spend THEIR money?  I don't!  I don't care what the Romneys purchased.  Yes, they're very successful people because Mitt Romney is very successful in busines.  That makes a very good point. That is exactly what we need to lead our country out of this financial abyss.  We certainly don't need a community organizer who çouldn't even tell David Letterman how deeply the country was in debt when he took office!
Oct 15, 2012 5:31PM
Just another chance for MSNBC to campaign for Obama..........
Oct 15, 2012 3:36PM
Wait a minute, Obama's home is a 30,000 + sqf home in downtown DC.  Has a fleet of cad's to escort him with his possy.  He has a fleet of Helicoptors and a 747 outfitted to the max.  He has a get away called Camp David which makes the La Jolla home look like an out house.  He rents a place in Hawaii home three times the size of Mitts place in Hawaii.
Oct 15, 2012 6:07PM
Romney is a success story. Obama is not a success story.
Oct 15, 2012 6:09PM
Realistically who cares what either Romney or Obama has? This is just more spin by the media trying to make Romney look like a villan because he worked hard and is successful. This country was built upon by people like Romney and has been destroyed by people like Obama. And yes we got the change Obama promised -THINGS ARE WORSE
So, who cares, who would be better at running this ountry then someone Ho knows how o earn it, over someone who gives freebies to half the population, while the other half works two jobs......We are tired of it!!!
Oct 15, 2012 5:35PM
Did they forget about the Illinois property the Obama's had built by a builder Mr.Obama had done some favors for while a Senator on property the builder owned next door to his home, at a deep discount, I assume as payback for political favors Mr.Obama had done for the builder? Or maybe they sold that one before he was elected as their was some questions about how he got that built. This is just more left wing media bias trying to sway your opinion showing Obama as the meager millionaire and Mitt as a bigger millionaire (I prefer the more successful millionaire to run the country). Either way, I will vote for the guy that has more property and success, and a proven track record of many successes in business and as a governor, Mitt Romney has my vote.
Oct 15, 2012 5:58PM

So, Romney bought his homes on his own dime, and during a Strong Economy.


Obummer on the other hand bought his Hawaii home while the Economy was in the dumper, and while we were paying for it. Hmmm....  Seems like Obama's Economy is much better than the Average Guy's, but I guess when you steal it from the average guy, it's bound to be.

Oct 15, 2012 4:10PM
Most of us voters care where our money goes. Prices went up on everything the last four years while our home prices went down. Money & property are worth less. These debates are job interviews. Joe Biden laughing his way through an interview? Paul Ryan drinking too much water in an interview is neutral. Maybe yes or no. You get one of those two like it or not. Mitt Romney knows business and Obama knows how to  spend other people's money and push the country father into debt. George Bush & Obama liked to spend us into debt. for reasons of their own. How about someone now who knows how to make a few bucks on their own knowledge - Mitt Romney. I'm not a Republican or Democrat, just a citizen who wants a better America for all.
Oct 15, 2012 5:54PM
UNINSTALLING OBAMA..... ██████████████▒▒▒ 95% complete
Oct 15, 2012 3:07PM

What? How one sided.  You are trying to tell us that Obama is not wealthy?  I guess Joe- tax-payer takes care of the Obama's living and travel expenses. 


Oct 15, 2012 5:24PM

Who really cares about their cars, homes and etc!!  Romney earned his money.  Obama has not earned an honest cent in his life.  Has no past or no future.  Will live high on our tax dollars for the rest of his sick life.  Get him out of the White House now!


Oct 15, 2012 3:33PM
Free country for now.  If you can afford it and want it, buy it!
Oct 15, 2012 5:55PM
I would have to work over 15 weeks to afford Michelle's jacket or 605-1/4 hours.  No way she can relate to the working class. 
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.