WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign raised $68 million in the last three months of 2011, closing out a healthy year that dwarfed his Republican opponents.
The figures include more than $42 million for the campaign and more than $24 million for the Democratic National Committee, campaign manager Jim Messina said.
That brings his 2011 total to more than $220 million.
Messina called the haul a “pretty good quarter” in a video to supporters, but he sounded a cautionary note that there’s a “challenge that keeps coming up.”
“Too many Obama supporters think we don’t need their money. Or they don’t need to give now. … I totally get why people would think that, but they’re completely wrong.”
He said the campaign needed money in these early stages to build neighborhood organizations. He sought to temper expectations that the campaign will raise $1 billion, as early estimates predicted.
Messina suggested that the campaign will rely more on small donors than the Republican operation does, noting that more than 98 percent of the campaign’s contributions were $250 or less, “showing our grass-roots support across the country.”
He said the campaign would have to fend off independent Republican political action committees that already were spending millions of unrestricted – and often undisclosed – dollars on behalf of Republican candidates.
“When we get an opponent, we’ll be facing down their fundraising operation as well as all the outside groups that have already started spending money for them,” Messina said. “What we have is grass roots.”