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Obama Raised $51 Million In July

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised more than $51 million in July and the Democratic National Committee reported $27.7 million in donations last month, putting Obama in a strong position for the fall campaign.

Obama began August with $65.8 million on hand and the DNC had $28.5 million available, according to statements released Saturday. His July total was slightly less than the $52 million he raised in June but still eye-popping because he was off the fundraising circuit at home during his trip to the Middle East and Europe.

Obama's Internet-powered fundraising efforts have shattered all previous records for a presidential campaign, bringing in a total of $390 million so far. The Illinois senator has announced he will forgo public financing for the general election, giving up $84 million in taxpayer dollars for the final two months of the campaign and committing himself to a steady pace of fundraising.

By contrast, Republican candidate John McCain has raised just $140 million and has agreed to accept public financing for the general election and the spending restraints that come with it. Unlike Obama, McCain will not feel the intense pressure to raise money in the fall.

Though lagging Obama in fundraising, McCain has remained competitive because of the Republican National Committee's success in attracting donations.

On Friday, McCain's campaign said the presumed GOP nominee had raised $27 million in July, his biggest monthly haul since clinching the party's nomination. McCain's campaign reported having $21 million available to spend.

The RNC said Friday it had brought in nearly $26 million in July and had $75 million on hand to compete with the Democrats. Much of that money has come through fundraisers by President Bush, unpopular nationally but still a potent draw among those who donate to the GOP.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Saturday that 65,000 new donors contributed to the Obama campaign in July and that more than 2 million had now given Obama money for his presidential bid. The large pool of donors also means a larger number of people to ask for more money in the future.

McCain's campaign said it has logged 600,000 donors.