Obama Campaign Edged Ahead In August Fundraising

Democratic committees and the Obama campaign raised a combined $114 million in August, slightly ahead of the $111 million raised by GOP groups. It's the first time the Obama camp has been ahead in several months.

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Relentless fundraising efforts paid off last month for President Obama and Mitt Romney. Their campaign said today they each took in more than $110 million.

NPR's Peter Overby has details.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: The Romney team says its total take exceeded $111.6 million, his best fund ever. The Obama team did even better. It says it raised 114 million, 50 percent more than it got in July. And that puts Obama ahead in monthly fundraising for the first time since April.

Republicans last month were rallying to Romney around the party convention and his pick of Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate. President Obama's team was pushing Democrats to close the fundraising gap and to gird against waves of attack ads from heavily financed pro-Romney groups. Those groups include the superPAC Restore Our Future and the social welfare organizations, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity.

Over the course of the entire campaign, going back to early 2011, President Obama's reelection organization has raised $681 million, about 120 million more than Romney. Today, both campaigns sought to emphasize small donors. The Romney organization said 94 percent of its donations were for $250 or less, and they accounted for about 32 percent of all the money raised. The Obama operation said 98 percent of its contributions were at or below that $250 threshold. But it didn't say how many dollars that works out to be. It's a figure that helps to show the relative strength of large and small donors.

One other number the Obama campaign didn't release - cash on hand. It's likely to be less than what Romney claims, $167.5 million in the bank as of August 31st. But that comparison and some other key data, such as expenditures, will have to wait until 10 days from now. That's when the campaigns file their complete monthly reports at the Federal Election Commission.

And just to put this whole thing in perspective, this is the first presidential campaign since 1972 in which neither major party candidate is running with public financing. If Romney and President Obama had taken public financing, they would have gotten some $91 million each for the entire fall campaign. In other words, about three-quarters of what they raised last month alone.

Peter Overby, NPR News, Washington.

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