Obama raised $42 million for his campaign in the third quarter, plus another $27.3 million for the DNC.  Naturally, the top line $70 million joint number is being hyped.

These numbers come from an Obama campaign statement, the official FEC report has not yet been released, so we don’t know details such as how much cash on hand the campaign has (Bush had $70 million at this point).

That’s a lot of money, but the campaign is trying to spin it as more of a victory and sign of strength than it really is:

  • Obama is nowhere near on track to raise the $1 billion he wants for his campaign.
  • Obama’s $42 million haul is less than the $50 million George W. Bush raised in the third quarter of 2003, the comparable time period.
  • The high campaign number of donors and low average donation numbers does not reflect wide support, but gimmicks like the $3 dinner raffle.

Comparisons to what Republican primary candidates have raised are meaningless.  Until a Republican nominee is selected, a lot of people are holding onto their check books.

It’s clear that Obama will raise hundreds of millions, but the billion dollar candidate may not make it there.