WASHINGTON -- After what appeared to be a slow month in January, the fundraising machine that is President Barack Obama's reelection campaign moved into a higher gear in February. The campaign raised $21.3 million last month, and the Democratic National Committee pulled in an additional $24 million.
While this total is impressive compared with those of the president's Republican opponents in the GOP primary -- none of the four candidates remaining has raised more than $20 million in a single month -- it's a far cry from the fundraising numbers Obama put up during the 2008 primary campaign. In February 2008, Obama raised a total of $55 million, with $23 million coming from small donors alone. And that fundraising was done without the help of the Democratic National Committee.
This past month the president's campaign again drew heavily on small donors, who made up 44 percent of all donations to the campaign. Small donors -- those giving $200 or less in the aggregate -- contributed $7.4 million to Obama for America and another $2 million to the Obama Victory Fund, for a total of $9.4 million to the reelection effort. This continues a trend of the president's raising more from small donors in the 2012 campaign, as a percentage of total fundraising, than he did during the 2008 campaign.
The high percentage of small-donor giving may, however, reflect a relative lack of big donors giving to Obama's campaign. Those giving $2,500 or more contributed approximately $4.2 million, or only 20 percent of the campaign's total. This comes despite an incredibly busy month of high-dollar fundraising events across the country.
No other sitting president has held as many fundraising events at this point in a reelection campaign as President Obama has, but he has received fewer big-dollar donations than he did in 2008 and than President George W. Bush did in his 2004 reelection bid, according to a Washington Post report.
The president attended 15 fundraisers in February, the highest number of such events in one month since launching his reelection effort last April. Those events included a West Coast swing through San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington state and a Florida trip. Four more fundraisers were held in Washington, D.C.
The Obama fundraisers attracted celebrities from business, film, music and sports. Those shelling out top dollar to see the president in person included Microsoft's Bill Gates, Def Jams' Russell Simmons and Netflix's Reed Hastings; actors David Arquette, Jim Belushi, Adrian Grenier, Mariska Hargitay and Bette Midler; musical performers Mariah Carey, David Byrne and Herbie Hancock; and athletes Sammy Sosa, San Francisco 49er Vernon Davis, New York Giant Antrel Rolle and San Diego Charger Takeo Spikes.
The Obama campaign reported that it spent $12.5 million in February, down from $18 million in January. The major costs included $2.1 million for payroll, $1.6 million for printing and $1.1 million for postage. At the end of February, the campaign had $84.6 million cash on hand.