After Romney speech, Staples gets caught up in 2012 presidential race

Even office supplies can't escape election year politics.

August 31, 2012

(WBEZ/Mariam Sobh)
The downtown Staples store at the corner of Wabash and Washington, located just two blocks away from President Obama's campaign headquarters.

In Thursday night's acceptance speech, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney made reference to one of his biggest success stories at Bain Capital, and got in a dig at his opponent:

"Some of the companies we helped start are names, you know, you've heard from tonight," Romney remarked. "An office company called Staples, where I'm pleased to see the Obama campaign has been shopping."

The audience in the convention stadium laughed, but we wondered:  Is it true? 

As it turns out, there's a Staples store located in downtown Chicago on the corner of Wabash and Washington — just two blocks from President Obama’s campaign headquarters at the Prudential Building. 

Campaigns need all kind of office supplies and it follows that Obama’s staff might shop there often. But despite repeated calls, the Obama campaign would neither confirm nor deny it.

Yet according to filings with the Federal Election Commission the Obama campaign spent $17.06 this month at a 'Chicago Staples.' They spent a lot more earlier in the year, some $25,000, since February.

If you’re wondering, the Romney campaign spent more than $118,000 during that same period. Employees at the Staples near Obama HQ said they couldn't talk on the record about either campaign.

It seems even office supplies can’t escape election year politics.