President Barack Obama's re-election campaign announced Monday that it raised $45 million in February—and immediately found itself in a fight with Republicans who claimed the number proved the incumbent was struggling.
The Obama campaign posted a summary of its monthly totals on its official website, saying that 348,000 people opened their wallets in February, 105,000 for the first time, with an average donation of $59.04.
On the Twitter feed run by campaign staff, aides said 1.64 million people had donated to re-elect the president since that effort formally launched in April 2011.
But the Republican National Committee pounced, noting that Obama's February total was well off his pace of four years ago, when he scooped up nearly $57 million.
"After three years of policies that have left our country with record debt, high unemployment, and soaring gas prices and healthcare costs, it's clear President Obama is having a hard time convincing voters he deserves another term," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
The Obama campaign's chief spokesman, Ben LaBolt, responded via his own Twitter account, saying: "The $ the GOP candidates are raising will be spent on the air carpetbombing each other. We are raising $ for our gen elect infrastructure."
But top campaign aides—and Obama himself—have acknowledged that they face a struggle to recapture the magic of his historic 2008 run for the White House. The president has even built that into his regular fundraising pitches as a warning to any complacent Democrats.
"I know I'm a little grayer now and it's not as trendy to be an Obama supporter, because it's not as fresh," he told donors at actor and director Tyler Perry's estate in Atlanta on Friday.
"And so I hope that you are game to work just as hard, if not harder, in the coming months to make sure we finish what we began," said the president, who has stepped up the pace of his fundraising.
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