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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

The latest fundraising numbers are in, and the amounts are eye-popping. President Obama and the Democratic Party raised $71 million in the month of June, an enormous haul. But that was dwarfed by presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee. The total for that campaign was $106 million.

NPR's national political correspondent Mara Liasson has more.

MARA LIASSON, BYLINE: For the second month in a row, Republican challenger Mitt Romney raised more money than President Barack Obama: $17 million more in May and 35 million more in June. When you count all the Republican independent groups and superPACs, team Romney may be on its way to outspending President Obama and his Democratic allies by two-to-one, a spending disparity many political operatives think is a big enough to make a difference in a close race.

That has the Obama campaign ringing the alarm bells. In an email, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said, quote, "If Romney's fundraising continues at this pace, we could lose the election."

Reached by phone in Chicago, campaign spokesman Ben Labolt had a number of responses. The first likened President Obama to George W. Bush in 2004, an unusual analogy for the Obama campaign.

BEN LABOLT: Senator Kerry outraised Bush every month after he clenched the nomination. Right when a challenger clenches a nomination, there are donors available who traditionally give to the party's nominee who don't during the primary process. There may have been some low-hanging fruit, here.

LIASSON: Then there was the explanation for why the growing money gap may not matter.

LABOLT: This campaign relied on early investments in building up our ground organization and ground infrastructure. That's something the Republicans have largely taken a pass on this cycle. They're counting they can win this thing on the air. And we're building the largest grassroots campaign in history on the ground.

LIASSON: And then the SOS.

LABOLT: This is a clarion call for our supporters to invest in our organization. That's how we're going to answer this.

LIASSON: The Romney campaign's message was lot simpler. Romneys national financial chair, Spencer Zwick, said the June total was a statement from voters that they want a change of direction in Washington.

Mara Liasson, NPR News.

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