President Obama speaks at the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional… (Kristoffer Tripplaar /…)
President Obama added an additional $43.6 million to Democratic coffers in April, a sum his campaign says will be put to quick use to build on its ground game for the fall.
The monthly fundraising haul was down from the $53 million raised in March by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and two affiliate committees. The Republican National Committee also was quick to point out that Obama raised $32 million on his own in April 2008, without the advantage of incumbency.
In a YouTube video (watch below), campaign manager Jim Messina nonetheless highlighted how those funds are being deployed to ensure the president has as many paths to victory as possible in November.
That includes, for the moment, expanding the playing field to include states such as Arizona, likely a reach for Democrats, but one Messina said the campaign is still eying.
"It wasn't a swing state last time around, but if we can help register the hundreds of thousands of voters who missed out in 2008, we can put it on the table this November," he said.
Other paths include holding Virginia, "a major trendsetter in national politics," and North Carolina, where the campaign registered 15,000 new voters last month. Messina also noted that Ohio remains a major focus, "one of the places where we're doing the most work on the ground."
Messina didn't shy from the tough slog ahead, however.
"One of the most important things we can do is get our arms around the fact that this election is going to be close," he said.
The campaign has already seen $57 million in negative advertising against it, $10 million in just the last two weeks from groups supported by the Koch brothers and a pro-Mitt Romney "super PAC," he pointed out.
He compared that to the fact that Obama's first ads were positive, focused on his record. Advisors have said the campaign was spending $25 million on the spots.
The nearly $44-million haul in April came from 437,323 donors, about 170,000 of whom gave for the first time. The average donation to Obama's campaign was $50.23, and 98% of donations were in amounts of $250 or less, the campaign said.
The president likely saw a new surge in fundraising since. The April total does not include all of the money raised in a contest the campaign had giving grass-roots donors the chance to attend a fundraiser hosted by George Clooney. Obama also formally kicked off his campaign earlier in May. And last week his campaign saw an influx of donations after his announcement on same-sex marriage, a decision highlighted in the new campaign video.
The RNC reacted by saying Obama was "struggling to sell the American people on his brand of Hype and Blame that has left millions without jobs, a struggling housing situation and record deficits and debt for future generations."