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Obama Began Month With $133.6M In The Bank

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama spent $87.5 million last month and began October with nearly $134 million in the bank.

The numbers illustrate his vast financial advantage over John McCain, his Republican rival, in the final stretch of the contest. McCain ended September with $47 million in the bank.

Obama, who raised a record-shattering $150 million in September, filed his campaign finance report with the Federal Election Commission overnight. The numbers became available on the FEC Web site Tuesday morning.

McCain is accepting public financing and cannot raise money. He is limited to $84 million for the two months before Election Day.

Both candidates are also getting help from their respective parties. The Democratic National Committee had $27.4 million in hand at the end of the month. The Republican National Committee said it had $77 million.

That helps close the gap, but Democrats still hold a considerable $37 million advantage.

Moreover, Obama's $5 million-a-day fundraising rate has likely continued in October and will widen the financial gap between the two sides.

By having the bulk of the money within his campaign, Obama also retains far more control over how it is spent.

He spent $65 million in advertising in September to McCain's $22 million. In October, he has outspent McCain 4-1 in advertising. Even with Republican Party ads in the mix, Obama has had more than a 2-1 advertising edge. He also spent $2 million on Internet advertising.

He reported spending $3.2 million on payroll, nearly three times more than McCain.

Obama's resources have also permitted him to venture into what had been GOP strongholds — states that had traditionally voted for Republican presidential candidates. The economic crisis and President Bush's extraordinarily low approval ratings have made those states ripe for Obama.

With so much money, Obama has been making sizable contributions to Democratic parties in key battleground states. He distributed more than $7 million to party committees, including $1.7 million to the Florida party and $1 million to the Ohio Democrats. Among other state parties receiving $400,000 or more were those in Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Missouri. Virginia's received $390,000.

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