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Obama, Democrats haul $70 million in quarter

US President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $70 million from July to September for his re-election bid, the campaign said on Thursday, topping a $55 million target.

world Updated: Oct 13, 2011 19:24 IST

US President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $70 million from July to September for his re-election bid, the campaign said on Thursday, topping a $55 million target.

The campaign contribution report shows that Obama's money train is still robust, despite complaints from his base that he lacks the fervor to push a Democratic agenda, and a low approval ratings.

Obama excelled at persuading small donors to contribute in 2008 when he won the White House, and he seems to have kept that up in his 2012 re-election bid. Experts say that although big contributions are essential, a steady cadre of small donors who can keep giving are also important.

About 98% of donations came in increments of $250 or less, the campaign said.

Obama raised a record $745 million in cash during the 2008 campaign, and his advisers want to raise even more for 2012.

Most experts believe 2012 will be the priciest ever.

"Looks as though there is going to be a boatload of money spent in the election to put those out-of-work attack ad operatives back to
work," Clyde Wilcox, a government professor at Georgetown University said.

In the second quarter, the campaign raised $86 million. It had said it expected a drop in the third quarter, typically due to summer vacations.

Surpasses record
The campaign said that 606,027 people donated during the third quarter, which it said surpassed the record set in the previous quarter and was more than twice as many donations as the campaign had at this point in 2008.

The campaign said that at last count, 982,967 people have donated to the campaign, within striking distance of the 1 million donors it seeks to show a wide base of support.

Being president gives Obama an advantage over Republicans in fund-raising. Apart from money received by the Democratic National Committee, Obama's campaign raised about $43 million, shy of a record by former Republican president George W Bush, who raised $47 million and $50 million in two separate quarters as a sitting president.

Obama raised another $27 million through the DNC, which can take in much larger donations -- of about $30,000 per person.

Republicans, still in the process of picking a nominee to take on Obama, are behind in fund-raising.

Whoever wins the nomination will get the largest being raised by the Republican National Committee, which has been raising record amounts for a nonelection year in recent months. The RNC took in nearly $25 million in the third quarter.

Republican front-runner former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has not released third-quarter figures yet, but he raised more than $18 million in the second quarter.

Romney is expected to raise somewhere in the $15 million range for the third quarter, according to two sources who help him raise funds.

Texas Governor Rick Perry, once a front-runner whose support has been falling in the polls, raised $17 million in the third quarter, giving him fuel to keep the campaign going despite concerns over recent stumbles in debates.