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Obama team raised record $86 million last quarter. UPDATES

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WASHINGTON--The Obama team raised more than $86 million in the last quarter--over $47 million directly for the Obama 2012 campaign and more than $38 million for the Democratic National Committee--a pot of money more than all the GOP rivals combined.

The news came in an early Wednesday morning video from Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, in advance of the Friday filing with the Federal Election Commission of the combined second quarter donations, covering April, May and June.

The total exceeded the self-imposed $60 million goal Messina asked Obama's top fund-raisers--called bundlers--to raise when they met in Chicago at the end of May. The $60 million was equal to the amount raised during the comparable time by the 2004 Bush/Cheney campaign and the Republican National Committee. All the 2012 Republican candidates combined raised about $35 million.

The second quarter fund-raising drive for the Obama re-election bid--headquartered in Chicago-- was more than just a hunt for campaign cash. The Obama team also uses fund-raising as an organizing tool, for both small donors and the bundlers--an elite group of people who have pledged to use their networks to raise mega-donations.

"The most important thing," Messina said in his video, was the number of people who "pitched in" to donate to the campaign.

UPDATE In a conference call with reporters, Messina said "The first weeks of this campaign have been a test of our grassroots strength and the results are in. We've had 552,462 individuals giving to the campaign in the second quarter. More than we had in all of 2007. Of our 552,000 total donors to the 2012 campaign so far, more than 260,000 are completely new to the Obama organization and have never given

Also: On the call, Obama 2012 Communications chief Ben LaBolt said the campaign will release the names of the Obama bundlers on Friday and noted that no GOP 2012 contender has listed their bundlers.

Also: The Obama team raised money for the primary and general 2012 elections. Since Obama has no primary challenge, this is not as big a deal as it will be when the primary/general split for the GOP contenders comes out. Obama's general/primary haul will not be known until the report is filed on Friday.

Messina, in his video, sent out first to supporters, not reporters in keeping with the Obama team strategy of over-riding mainstream media when it suits their messaging needs--said the money came from 552,462 individuals. The video, out at 4:40 3:59 a.m. est, hit the email with the subject line stating "Exclusive: First Look at out report."

Messina stressed in his video the small dollar donations--not the $35,800 dinners--stating the average donation was $69, (This number should be $88) "substantially" lower than the average for the 2008 Obama presidential campaign.

UPDATE In the conference call, Messina said the $69 cited in the video was money donated to Obama for America; however, that striped away the megadonations, which go to the DNC. The average donation from both committees is $88) END UPDATE

What Messina did not mention in his video is telling: how much of the money was raised in large dollar donations, earned in dinners headlined usually by President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle and Vice President Joe Biden.

Messina, a former White House deputy chief of staff, himself spent much of the year traveling around the country prospecting with donors. The Obama fund-raising drive is led by deputy campaign manager Julianna Smoot and finance chief Rufus Gifford.

Other important campaign metrics from Messina: more than 60 field offices opened--with more on the way-- training for volunteers in 50 states, 650 grass roots organizing sessions with more online and something called 290,000 "conversations.

Those numbers, Messina said, "tell the real story of our campaign."

The first report for the combined Obama for America and Democratic National Committee fund-raising effort--named the Obama Victory Fund--with large and small contributions over $250--will be 15,000 pages when it is filed Friday, Messina said.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on FOX and Friends Wednesday morning reacted to the $86 million haul."Obviously we are challenging the President. We have a diverse field. I don't think any amount of money is going to save a President who right now even with the money coming into his coffers, he is not going to have the ability to pull the wool over the American people's eyes."

With all the second quarter success, Messina cast the Obama team as barely keeping up, because of the success of other Republican allied political groups--who do not have to disclose donors. He did not mention that Democrats--including former top White House staffers--have formed their own organizations to collect outside, non-disclosed cash.

The Obama 2008 presidential campaign raised more than $750 million.

Messina's 2012 strategy briefing video, released last April, is here.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on July 13, 2011 8:00 AM.

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