You will not see that headline. 

Instead you will see headlines about Obama’s blowout fundraising of $86 million combined for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee.  Of that amount, $47 million was for Obama’s campaign.

But as The NY Times notes deep down in its article on the fundraising, that $47 million number is less than the $50 million George W. Bush raised during the same quarter of 2003.  (More Bush numbers are here.)  [Update:  The NY Times originally reported the $50 million Bush number as being for the same period, and I used that number for this post, but The Times story now has been changed to $35 million; The Times was citing the 3d Quarter numbers, not 2d Quarter in its original post.  So on a second quarter comparison Obama did beat Bush.]

Of course, Obama also is touting the “small donor” angle, asserting that 98% of the donors donated under $250.  But so far I have not seen any information on what percentage of the total amount raised (as opposed to the total number of donors) was from “small donors.”  As we saw in 2008, this sleight of hand has been used by the Obama campaign before to present the false image that its fundraising was driven by small donors.

Additionally, the “average” donation size was driven down by the $5 dinner raffle, which then was reduced to $3.  Getting a lot of donors to kick in $5 or $3 for a chance to have dinner with the President is a good way to drive down the average donation number and ramp up the number os “small donors.”  I doubt any mainstream media outlets will report this angle.

In other words, the Obama fundraising numbers — while solid by any measure — neither were a blowout signaling his strength nor a reflection of the “grassroots” nature of his campaign.  It’s just more phony imaging, aided and abetted by an incurious media.

Update:  Gabriel Malor notes:

Last quarter Obama’s campaign raised $47 million. Combined, the GOP campaigns raised about $35 million. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it? In fact, the $12 million difference is shockingly low, given thatt the Democrats already know who their candidate is and many GOP donors are waiting until the GOP field narrows to get in it.

Count me as among those waiting.

Also, when the hard numbers are released days from now, when the media has moved on, it will be interesting to see not only the percentage of funds raised from the large donors who have been a focus of the Obama campaign for several months, but how many of those donors have maxed out.  Pushing big donors to max out early has been an Obama campaign strategy to create the impression of fundraising strength.


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