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Obama gets $68M for re-election in 4Q

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama took in more than $68 million combined for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party during the final three months of 2011, gearing up for a formidable challenge against his Republican opponent later this year.

The large fundraising quarter helped Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee surpass $220 million in 2011, bankrolling the president's re-election campaign as Republicans pick a nominee. GOP front-runner Mitt Romney raised $56 million for the primaries through Dec. 31, his campaign announced Wednesday, far outpacing his GOP opponents.

Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said yesterday in a video to supporters that the campaign collected more than $42 million for the quarter, with the DNC bringing in more than $24 million, along with $1 million for a joint fund to help state parties in key states.

The amount helped the president's team beat an internal goal of $60 million combined for the quarter.

Obama's campaign collected $750 million in 2008, prompting speculation that it could top $1 billion this time. Messina called that figure "completely untrue," but noted the lofty figures have created "a challenge that keeps coming up. Too many Obama supporters think we don't need their money or they don't need to give now."

Democrats expect parity with Republicans once the party chooses a nominee. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has been a formidable fundraiser and most party leaders expect money to pour into his campaign if he sews up the nomination.

Republican-leaning super PACs have also fared better than Democratic-backed outside groups, further offsetting the president's fundraising.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said: "The White House may try to pretend the president isn't focused on his re-election, but Americans know he's more interested in campaigning to save his own job than creating jobs for our country's unemployed."

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