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Obama, at US$114 million outraises Romney in August

September 10, 2012
WASHINGTON: In a surprise show of strength, President Barack Obama raised US$114 million for his re-election bid last month, beating Mitt Romney’s monthly haul for the first time since April, his campaign said.

Campaign officials said early Monday that 1.1 million Americans contributed to Obama’s operation during the month to make up the total, which was easily the most lucrative fundraising period for Obama of the 2012 campaign.

“The key to fighting back against the special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney is growing our donor base, and we did substantially in the month of August,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

“Fueled by contributions from more than 1.1 million Americans donating an average of US$58 – more than 317,000 who had never contributed to the campaign before – we raised a total of more than US$114 million.

“That is a critical downpayment on the organization we are building across the country – the largest grassroots campaign in history.”

The Hill newspaper reported that Romney had raised US$111 million in August, meaning that Obama bested his rival in the fundraising stakes after trailing badly in previous months.

August fundraising was especially significant as it reflected the public response to Romney’s naming of conservative favorite Paul Ryan as his vice presidential pick and the two party conventions.

Fundraising is a crucial component at this late stage of the campaign, – ahead of the November 6 election – as it dictates how much candidates can spend on advertizing blitzes in key television markets and on firing up get-out-the-vote organizations.

Romney will likely still have a cash advantage over Obama, as he had a large stash of money saved that could only legally used once he was accepted the Republican presidential nomination two weeks ago in Florida.

Multiple Super PAC campaign committees favoring Romney will also rally to his cause, meaning that Obama and his Democrats will still be substanially outspent in the advertizing game in the next two months.

But the Obama team was clearly delighted with its operation, sending a tweet from the official @BarackObama campaign account calling the haul “huge news.”

“No celebrating, because they’re going to have an even bigger September, but now we know we can match them, doing this our way,” the Twitter feed said.

A senior Obama aide said on Friday that Romney and supportive outside groups were outspending the president’s campaign in television advertizing in some key markets in swing states by more than two to one.

The Obama campaign, which has spent heavily in recent months on negative ads designed to define Romney and to build a huge grass roots movement designed to turn out the vote in November.

Obama’s unexpected cash bonanza comes as he enjoys a post-Democratic National Convention bounce in the polls, leading Republican Romney by five points Sunday in the Gallup daily tracking poll.

Obama’s August haul total and his strong position in national polls and in battleground states will likely cement a narrative, that for now, at least, the president is ahead of Romney less than two months before election day.

That will pile pressure on Republican presidential nominee Romney to check Obama’s momentum in three presidential debates next month.

Messina said that the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee had raised US$114 million from 1.1 million donors giving an average of US$58 in August.

In a figure that will cheer the Obama camp, more than 317,000 new donors signed up to the campaign in the month.

More than three million people have contributed to the campaign so far.

In a monthly report for July filed with the Federal Election Commission, Obama claimed reserves of $124 million divided between the president’s campaign and his Democratic Party.

At the same time, the Romney campaign said it had US$186 million on hand. Neither total took into account August fundraising, and both campaigns spent heavily during the month as the election race heated up.



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