CHICAGO (CBS) – The politicians are spending more money on their midterm campaigns than has ever been spent before, most of it to buy more time on television, to sling more mud and tell more lies than I’ve ever heard before.

Alexi Giannoulias for senator: $8 million. His opponent, Mark Kirk: $12 million.

So driven to win are some candidates they’re spending their own money. Rick Scott for senator in Florida: $60 million of his own. Meg Whitman for governor in California: more than $160 million.

Barack Obama of the White House, begging for bucks for his buddies on Capitol Hill. Coast to coast he goes, for $200,000 at a dinner in a private home, $500,000 at a dinner in a hotel, selling himself for pictures with contributors.

All in all: $3 billion. More money than has ever been spent in the history of midterm campaigns, to send us angry and mean-spirited messages irrelevant to the campaign.

Today, in my mail, a message from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi: “Please, we need $1 million. Now. It’s urgent.”

She must be kidding.