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Clinton Leads The Pack In Fundraising

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign announced Tuesday that she raised $27 million from July through September, significantly outpacing chief rival Barack Obama.

The campaign boasted about the results in an e-mail to supporters that noted it was her best fundraising quarter yet. It's the first time she's dominated Obama, who raised $20 million in the same period and has given her an unexpectedly tight competition in the money race.

Clinton also raised $27 million in the second quarter. She's the only candidate who has released their figures thus far that has not experienced a dropoff in donations from the second to the third quarter, CBS News reports.

Clinton has raised a total of $90 million since the beginning of the year. Obama's total for the year was nearly $80 million, his campaign said Monday.

"Once you get into that 80 to 90 million dollar range, a few million here or there isn't going to mean the difference in the nomination," said Senior Political Editor Vaughn Ververs. "But, in terms of perception, the fact that Clinton has been able to create some separation between herself and Obama is likely going to provide some extra momentum for her front-running campaign."

Clinton's total includes $22 million that she can spend on the primary race. She has to save the rest for the general election and will have to return it if she doesn't win the nomination.

She also supplemented her primary fundraising earlier this year with a $10 million transfer from her 2006 Senate campaign.

Obama's total included $19 million for the primary, meaning in total this year he's still outraised her in primary dollars - $74.9 million to $72.6 million.

Clinton leads other Democrats in national opinion polls, three months before the first primaries.

Among Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney pumped up his campaign bank account with money from donors and from his own personal wealth.

A top Romney adviser said he would report contributions of nearly $10 million for the quarter, as well as a personal loan to his campaign of more than $6 million. That would bring Romney's overall public contributions for the year to about $45 million, and his personal investment in his race to at least $16 million, for total receipts of more than $60 million.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who has kept pace with Romney's fundraising in the past, has not disclosed his third-quarter totals. He has said his fundraising would be on a par with other Republicans.

Sen. John McCain, who appears to have stopped a political free-fall, will report raising more than $5 million during the quarter, according to Republicans familiar with his effort. McCain also reduced a debt he had at midyear but did not eliminate it, one Republican said.

One McCain adviser said the campaign had stabilized its finances, significantly reducing its spending, which had averaged $4.5 million a month, to $1.5 million a month.

Fred Thompson, the newcomer to the GOP field, raised more than $8 million during the quarter, supplementing the $3.5 million he raised in June, according to Republicans briefed on his fundraising totals.

Entering the fourth quarter, when spending will be heavy, the Romney campaign is eager to show a sizable amount of cash on hand to make clear it has the resources to compete in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary.

With their third-quarter numbers, Obama and Clinton have helped push the Democratic field into record fundraising territory for a presidential campaign.

They sit comfortably atop the Democratic field, well ahead of the fundraising of their nearest rival, John Edwards, who raised $7 million in the past three months for a total of $30 million for the year.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns did not report how much money they have on hand, totals that would signal how well-positioned they are to compete in the months ahead. While Clinton leads in national polls, she, Obama and Edwards are clustered closely in polls of Iowa voters. Iowa is scheduled to hold the first contest of the 2008 presidential season with its caucuses in January.

This was the first quarter that Clinton has raised more primary money than Obama, who has given her an unexpectedly tight competition in the money race.

"This is the moment when you showed that America is ready for change and that you are ready to make history," campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle said on the campaign's Web site in a message to supporters. "This is the moment when your dedication defied the skeptics. The early primaries and caucuses are coming up fast. We're going to need your help a lot in the next few months."

The Clinton campaign said her third-quarter contributions included money from 100,000 new donors, surpassing the 93,000 the Obama campaign said it attracted during the summer. Overall, the Obama campaign has said it has attracted 350,000 donors.

"More than 350,000 Americans have already signaled the kind of change they want in Washington by contributing to the Obama campaign," spokesman Bill Burton said. "We have raised a historic $74.9 million in dollars available for primary spending, without transferring one cent from any other campaign fund and with no money from federal lobbyists or PACs."

Clinton, whose campaign had appeared focused on big-dollar donors in earlier quarters, expanded her reach to smaller contributors over the summer. Her campaign held 20 low-dollar fundraisers during the quarter, including one Sunday in Oakland, Calif., that the campaign said drew 14,000 people. Author John Grisham held a similar event in Virginia last week.