2012 candidates close books on second-quarter fundraising

President Obama's campaign said it closed the books on second-quarter fundraising with 493,697 individual donors as he and the Republicans hoping to replace him ended a critical period.

The news was blasted on the Obama campaign's Twitter account in the early Friday morning hours. The account — listed under the handle Barack Obama — spent the day tick-tocking the number of people who had given money.

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The president and his team spent the last day of second-quarter fundraising in a mad dash for cash, using all its social-media tools — Facebook, Twitter, and its vast email list of supporters — to ask for donations.

The fundraising spree was aimed at bringing in a $60 million haul for the second quarter. The president and first lady aided efforts with Obama traveling to Philadelphia for fundraising and Michelle Obama doing similar events in Boston and Vermont.

Obama raised some $750 million for his 2008 campaign and touted its success in bringing in funds from small donors. Some observers believe his 2012 war chest could be as high as a billion dollars.

If Obama's team hit its $60 million goal, he would easily top his Republican rivals, based on early reports.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is expected to lead the GOP field, brought in between $15 million and $20 million, according to reports. 

Romney spent most of the past week fundraising and had touted his early success, particularly $10 million in pledges that he brought in on a single day in Las Vegas last month.

But his 2012 figure has him lagging from the last cycle. By July 2007, Romney had $35 million in the bank — including personal loans he made to the campaign.

Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, who entered the race about two weeks ago, brought in around $4.1 million, according to reports.

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A campaign aide told The Wall Street Journal that Huntsman had provided less than half of that from his personal funds.

Meanwhile, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is set to bring in less than $5 million, according to reports.

Pawlenty's campaign has been struggling to gain ground in the crowded field, and not all of that money could be available for his immediate use.

A Pawlenty aide told The New York Times that some of money could be earmarked for a future general election campaign and thus would be unavailable to the former governor during the primary race.

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) touted on his campaign website that he raised $4.5 million in a last-minute fundraising push, although the numbers for the quarter weren't given. Paul shocked observers with his fundraising prowess in the 2008 race.

So far Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former Speaker Newt Gingrich's (R-Ga.) campaigns have been quiet.

Bachmann has proven herself a strong fundraiser — especially with small donors — in the past. Observers will be watching to see how her numbers compare to Romney's.

Gingrich's numbers also will be closely watched. His campaign has been in a downward spiral since several senior aides quit en masse and two members of his fundraising team departed soon afterward.

Campaigns have to file their reports with the Federal Election Commission by July 15. Expect totals to trickle out between now and then.