WASHINGTON — US President Barack Obama hauled in $53 million in March for his reelection effort, as his Chicago-based team trains its sights on all but certain Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
Obama’s fundraising clip, which translates to a $1.7 million dollar average daily take over the month for his campaign account and the Democratic National Committee, reflects the quickening pace of the race to the November 6 election.
The campaign released a video Monday unveiling the figure and highlighting small donors to the campaign, as it seeks to build a wide network of supporters who can be tapped right up until the presidential election.
Obama’s fundraising number included 190,000 people who donated for the first time in March and a total of 567,000 people sent money to the campaign, with the average donation of just over $50, the video said.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said that the campaign was made up of “people building this organization five or ten bucks at a time to take on Mitt Romney.”
“We are all going to have to dig even deeper, work even harder, move even faster — it’s going to take all of us working together,” he said.
Obama’s $53 million haul included individual donations and also proceeds of a string of fundraisers that the president has held in Washington and around the country.
On one swing through Chicago and Georgia last month, Obama racked up around $5 million in a lucrative single day campaign blitz including events in a vast hotel ballroom, a huge film studio, and intimate living room settings.
Some analysts had previously questioned the pace of Obama’s fundraising — concerns that the $53 million figure may go some way to assuaging.
Obama has now raised over $200 million for his reelection bid and for the Democratic National Committee and up until the end of February, he had spent $75 million — much of it building a new nationwide political machine.
Romney had raised nearly $75 million by the end of February, but has spent $66 million on his long Republican primary campaign, leaving him at a significant organizational disadvantage as the general election dawns.
The Republican has not yet announced his haul for March, but accelerating the pace of fundraising and building a national organization to rival Obama’s are now priorities for his campaign.
The Republican challenger will also likely benefit from tens of millions of dollars of anti-Obama spending by political groups known as Super PACS, now permitted to raise unlimited money from corporations and individuals thanks to a controversial Supreme Court ruling.
The Republican National Committee launched a new assault on Obama’s economic record, with a new web ad accusing the president of transitioning from “Hope to Hypocrisy.”
“For three years, President Obama has been promising a better economy and said he would be held responsible for the outcome,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.
“But, when he realized his failed economic policies weren’t working, he decided to blame everyone but himself.”
The Romney campaign, meanwhile, took a new step in its effort to introduce the former Massachusetts governor and his family to the wider US electorate after his bruising primary challenge.
It issued a YouTube ad highlighting his wife, Ann Romney, and her life as a daughter, mother and grandmother, who has battled multiple sclerosis and breast cancer and still stands by her husband’s side.
“I’m happy in life as long as I’ve got my soul mate with me. Life is all about the people you love,” said Romney over a montage of pictures of Ann, her five sons and grandchildren.
Ann Romney emerged as a key figure in the campaign last week, after Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen ignited a firestorm by saying on CNN the multi-millionaire candidate’s wife had “never worked a day in her life.”
The Romney campaign is desperate to close the gap with Obama among women voters, a potentially decisive voting bloc in November.