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Campaign Funds: Obama Exceeds Republicans By Millions

Aaron Liu |
October 14, 2011 | 3:55 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor

Obama raised around $70 million in the third quarter. (Creative Commons)
Obama raised around $70 million in the third quarter. (Creative Commons)
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign raised a total of more than $70 million dollars over the summer, outpacing the efforts of Republican contenders and putting the president in a clear financial lead despite turbulent poll numbers.

The Obama campaign raised $43 million and received $28 million from the Democratic National Committee, exceeding a $55 million goal and putting his campaign funding totals at around $150 million.

Among the Republican fund-raising numbers for the third quarter:

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry said he raised $17 million over the summer.
  • Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney netted in a reported $14 million.
  • Texas congressman Rep. Ron Paul will expect numbers around $8 million.
  • Former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman holds a mere $327,000 in funds and $890,000 in debt, according to CNN.

Journalists have raised doubts as to whether Obama’s current advantage in funds signifies a decisive political advantage overall.

Politico pointed out that after taking inflation into account, Obama’s third quarter numbers pale against the $72 million that former president George W. Bush and the Republican National Committee raised eight years ago:

And in Bush’s case, he did it with less work, attending about half the number of fundraisers in the first nine months of that year than Obama has attended so far in 2011, according to Mark Knoller of CBS, the unofficial chronicler of presidential comings and goings.

“Compared to President Bush in 2003, Obama is having to work harder, attend more fundraisers and shake more big donor hands to raise the money he has coming in,” a senior GOP official told POLITICO.

USA Today expanded on the notion that large donations from a small constituency have inflated the numbers, reporting that around 350 individuals have contributed $55.5 million to the campaign:

That's more than a third of the money Obama has collected for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee this year, demonstrating the president's ability to draw cash from wealthy Americans who can write big checks.

The Los Angeles Times painted a different picture, pointing out that the majority of Obama’s funds came from small donations over a large constituency:

Most of Obama's money — 98%, according to the campaign — came from small donations of $250 or less. In the last three months, more than 600,000 people gave money to the reelection effort.

Meanwhile, talk persists as to whether or not the Obama campaign can raise $1 billion by the end of the election – an unprecedented number in American politics.

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