Campaign manager Jim Messina announced Thursday morning that the Obama reelection effort raised $68 million in the final quarter of 2011 — with $42 million going directly to the campaign.
That lower number of campaign donations is less than double that raised by Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, who is beginning to close the gap after being out-raised nearly 3-to-1 in the second and third quarters of 2011. The former Massachusetts governor's campaign announced on Wednesday that he raised $24 million from October to December.
Romney, like Obama, also has a prodigious Super PAC, which can raise unlimited amounts of money to support him and attack his opponents.
As The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza points out, Obama's $170 million raised in 2011 dwarfs the $132.5 million President George W. Bush collected in 2003.
Messina highlighted that 1.3 million Americans donated to the Obama campaign since the reelection effort began in early 2011, calling it a sign of grassroots support. Romney's campaign has not released the number of donors to his campaign.
"The billion dollar number is completely untrue," Messina added, noting that the campaign still needs more grassroots donations to build its field organization.