WASHINGTON---President Barack Obama's re-election drive raised $29.1 million in January, according to new figures released Friday--as campaigns start reporting monthly totals with the Federal Election Commission.
The campaign highlighted the percentage of small donors, stating in a tweet at 5:59 a.m. est Friday, "Of January donations to #Obama2012, 98% were $250 or less. Thanks to everyone who pitched in."
Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and First Lady Michelle have all been on fund-raising swings in January collecting millions of dollars through headlining major donor events for a combined Obama 2012 and Democratic National Committee 2012 fund.
Since launching the drive for a second term in April, 2011 in Chicago, Obama has raised about $250 million in the combined funds from some 1.3 million donors. In the last quarter of 2011, Obama's team raised about $68 million.
Obama hit the West Coast this week for a heavy fund-raising schedule, with high-end events in Los Angeles and San Francisco on Thursday and Friday in Seattle. California is Obama's top donor state.
Obama raises money with the help of 444 "bundlers," people who use their own networks to help raise cash.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, "at least $9 out of every $25 raised by the DNC and the Obama campaign from April through the end of 2011 came from these elite fundraisers."
Mitt Romney, the best funded Republican candidate, refuses to release the names of members of his National Finance Committee beyond the 16 bundlers he has who are also federal lobbyists. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich also refuse to identify their bundlers; Ron Paul does not use them. The law requires disclosure of bundlers who are federal lobbyists; Obama does not take contributions from lobbyists.
In San Francisco Thursday night, Obama talked about the "change" slogan he ran on in 2008.
"I know these last three years have been tough. I know the change that we fought for in 2008 has come in fits and starts and sometimes it hasn't come as fast as folks wanted. We've had setbacks. I've made mistakes. After all that's happened in Washington, I know it's tempting sometimes to believe that maybe what we imagined isn't possible. But remember what we used to say during the campaign, that real change, big change is hard and it takes time. And it takes more than a single term. And it takes more than a single President. What it requires is ordinary citizens who come together with a shared vision and who are committed and persistent and just stay at it and keep fighting and keep pushing, and inching this country closer and closer and closer to our highest ideals.
"And I said in 2008 I'm not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president. But I promised you then that I would always tell you what I thought, I would always tell you where I stood, and I would wake up every single day fighting for you as hard as I know how. And I have kept that promise.
"And so if you're willing to stand with me and keep pushing and keep fighting and keep believing and, yes, keep hoping, then change will come. If you're willing to work even harder than you were in 2008, then we're going to finish what we started. Stand with me. Walk with me. Organize with me. Hope with me. And we will remind the world just why it is that America is the greatest nation on Earth."