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Obama campaign: 'If we don't step it up, we're in trouble'

For the third month, Mitt Romney's campaign has out-fundraised Obama's. But with three months until election day, the Obama campaign is not changing tack. 

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Obama has been spending big chunks of time making his own pleas. He raised money Monday in Connecticut at two events with Hollywood connections.

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One fundraiser was at the Westport, Conn., home of film mogul Harvey Weinstein, where two Academy Awards sat on the mantle before a group that included actresses Anne Hathaway and Joanne Woodward, the widow of Paul Newman, and writer Aaron Sorkin. Weinstein told the audience that Obama showed he was "not afraid to throw a punch. Witness the raid on Osama bin Laden. You can make the case that he's the Paul Newman of American presidents."

The events were expected to bring in at least $2.5 million for Obama's campaign.

Romney, who is closing in on his vice presidential pick, spent Monday at his vacation home in New Hampshire, but he, too, has a series of fundraising appearances this week.

Obama aides say their campaign is bringing in enough money to stay competitive in television advertising. The campaign has already purchased most of its air time in battleground states through Election Day using money it raised earlier in the cycle.

The campaign also has poured tens of millions of dollars into setting up field offices in battleground states, launching registration drives and compiling data on voters — all expensive efforts that could pay dividends for Obama in November. The Romney campaign is still setting up those efforts in some states and will probably have to devote a significant amount of its incoming cash to doing so.

Three months from Election Day, Democrats say Romney's fundraising gains have not forced the Obama campaign to re-evaluate its fall strategy, cut back on staffing or shift resources — signs that would show a campaign in financial trouble.

Les Coney, a top Obama donor in Chicago, said he had heard "zero concern" among the president's finance committee members that the fundraising disparity could hurt Obama's ability to run an effective campaign. "But obviously we're out there hustling, trying to raise money," he said. "You're always looking for new people to support the campaign."

Indeed, Romney's financial advantage means Obama must find time in his schedule to keep personally wooing donors, even as the campaign enters a phase where he will be headlining more big rallies and other public campaign events.

Going strong so far, Republicans say they're optimistic that the Romney campaign can keep up its fundraising prowess through the fall, and they point to the campaign's improved use of online efforts to target independent voters, evangelicals and military voters.

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