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Barack Obama Collects $25 Million

Democrat Barack Obama raked in $25 million for his presidential bid in the first three months of 2007, placing him on a par with front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton and dashing her image as the party's inevitable nominee.

Obama's fundraising number came from an official in his campaign, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The eye-popping figure was the latest evidence that Obama, a political newcomer who has served just two years in the Senate, has emerged as the most powerful new force in presidential politics this year. It also reinforced his status as a significant threat to Clinton, who'd hoped her own $26 million first-quarter fundraising total would begin to squeeze her rivals out of contention.

There's one key difference between Obama and Clinton, reports CBS News correspondent Gloria Borger: Obama has 100,000 donors, about twice as many as Clinton. And half of them — 50,000 people — gave by logging on. Obama raised $6.9 million online, compared with $4.2 million for Clinton.

While Clinton has honed a vast national fundraising network through two Senate campaigns and her husband's eight years as president, Obama launched his bid for the White House with a relatively small donor base concentrated largely in Illinois, his home state. But his early opposition to the Iraq war and voter excitement over his quest to be the first black president quickly fueled a powerful fundraising machine.

Obama is the latest presidential hopeful to obliterate the old first-quarter fundraising records.

Republican Mitt Romney raked in $23 million to join Clinton in the $20 million-plus club. The also-rans in the money race also reported eye-popping totals.

Republican frontrunner Rudy Giuliani collected $15 million, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., took in $12.5 million.

Among Democrats, John Edwards collected $14 million. That's double what the North Carolina Democrat raised in the same time period in his last run for the White House.

Cash wasn't always king, reports Borger. But the top candidates have opted out of the public financing system, so they can raise as much money as they want. And they'll need it. The last time the presidential race was this wide open, with no incumbent president or vice president running, was 1952.

To understand just how awash in cash the class of 2008 is, it's only necessary to look at the previous first-quarter fundraising records. Republican Phil Gramm of Texas and Democrat Al Gore of Tennessee held the previous high-water marks: $8.7 million for Gramm in 1995 and $8.9 million for Gore in 1995.

The fundraising totals are a crucial test for the candidates and indicate whose campaign is strongest less than a year before the first primary votes are cast. The fundraising deadline for the January through March period was Saturday, with financial reports due April 15.

Clinton swelled her campaign war chest by transferring an additional $10 million from her Senate fundraising account, aides said. That brought her to $36 million.

Other candidates reporting first-quarter totals included:

  • New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a Democrat, said he had raised $6 million and had more than $5 million cash on hand.
  • Aides to Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut said he raised more than $4 million and transferred nearly $5 million from his Senate campaign, for a total of $9 million in receipts and $7.5 million cash on hand.
  • Democratic Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware lagged behind, with his staff reporting that he had total receipts of nearly $4 million, nearly half of which was transferred from his Senate campaign account.
  • Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback, a conservative darling but long-shot GOP candidate, also lagged far behind, reporting receipts of less than $2 million, including a $575,000 transfer from his Senate campaign account.
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