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Obama hauls in the cash with $66 million in August

By Jimmy Orr / September 14, 2008

Jake Turcotte

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A lot of records have been set this month. On Saturday, South Bend, Indiana, received a record amount of rainfall -- nearly 6 1/2 inches. This past week, a record amount of hogs were slaughtered in the US for a week in September. And the State of California has gone the longest in its history without a budget.

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What could be more newsworthy than the above? A cool $66 million that Barack Obama's campaign raised in the month of August. That is the most ever raised in one month in the history of presidential contests.

New donors

The Obama campaign is also touting the number of new donors -- about 500,000 have joined the ranks to support the Democrat's candidacy. No doubt the campaign will hit these new donors up again as most haven't hit the $2,300 limit.

"John McCain says that he'll take on the special interests and lobbyists, but McCain can't fix a problem he's been part of for three decades. The 500,000 new donors to the Obama campaign demonstrate just how strongly the American people are looking to kick the special interests out and change Washington," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.

The extra cash is a necessity for the Obama campaign; most polls show John McCain has closed the gap to a virtual dead heat.

No public financing

Unlike McCain, Obama decided to forgo any public financing for his campaign. This is something that the McCain campaign brings up regularly.

Today, for example, McCain spokesperson Tucker Bounds said Obama's decision to bypass federal funding provides voters with "66 million reminders that Barack Obama is willing to stray from reform, break his word to the American people, and forgo public financing in favor of his own ambitions. Americans need change, not self-promotion."

Two likable candidates

On Fox News this morning, GOP strategist Karl Rove credited the tightening of the race to there being two candidates that the American people seem to like. "We have a very volatile electorate," he said. "We have a bunch of people who like both of these candidates. They have strong positives and relatively low negatives for this point in a presidential campaign, and they're weakly linked to their choice.

"And so things like the choice of Sarah Palin or an international incident, or something else — the performance in the debate — all of these things will have a big impact on the vote," he added.

McCain had a record-breaking month of August as well, bringing in about $47 million. While that is far short of Obama's number, the dynamics of the two campaigns are different. Though both campaigns will get assistance from their parties, the Republican National Committee has been more successful in fund raising than the Democratic National Committee.

Fear factor

The reason for the record haul? Andrew Sullivan over at The Atlantic credits fear.

"Given the terrifying prospect of president Palin, I can completely understand why the money is now pouring in," Sullivan said.

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