Obama camp pulls in $29 million in January

President Obama raised $29.1 million in January for his reelection campaign and the Democratic Party, his campaign announced Friday while Obama was on a West Coast fundraising swing.

The figures put Obama far ahead of the Republicans vying to take him on this fall, although it remains to be seen whether he will hold on to that advantage once the GOP race is over. He has also picked up the pace from fundraising at the end of 2011.

Obama demonstrated a continued ability to tap the network of small donors who largely built his 2008 campaign. The campaign said 98 percent of the donations in January were for $250 or less.

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Obama has upped his efforts to secure the resources he will need for what could easily be the most expensive election in history. After a packed day of fundraisers Thursday in California, Obama is in Washington state on Friday continuing his appeal. The three-day trip is expected to bring in $3 million for his reelection efforts.

“Some of the newness and excitement surrounding us in 2008 has naturally dissipated,” Obama told a Thursday morning crowd in Corona Del Mar, Fla. “That sense of urgency and anticipation and the values that are at stake are no less than they were in 2008.”

Republicans said the large haul reflected that Obama is spending too much time securing his job, rather than working to create jobs for the unemployed.

"The president is good at two things: raising money to save his political career and breaking promises like the one to keep unemployment below eight percent with the $825 billion Stimulus,” said Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.

The president also reversed course last week on super-PACs supporting his candidacy, with his campaign announcing it would publicly back Priorities USA, and that top surrogates and Cabinet secretaries might appear at fundraising events.

Republicans charged Obama with hypocrisy over his past opposition to the influence of outside spending, but Obama aides said the move was necessary to compete on the same playing field as conservative groups that have already started hammering Democrats with tens of millions of dollars in super-PAC spending.

- This post was updated at 12:19 p.m.