By Justin Sink
But the fundraising effort should still provide an edge over Obama's eventual Republican opponent. The Republican National Committee raised $27 million in the fourth quarter, while GOP front-runner Mitt Romney brought in $24 million.
The Obama campaign also had more than $81 million cash on hand as of the end of 2011, according to a Federal Election Commission filing also released Tuesday. That number is expected to outpace his Republican opponents, who have been spending money to mount expensive primary campaigns.
Final fundraising numbers from the remainder of the presidential campaigns are due Tuesday. Newt Gingrich has said that he raised $10 million in the fourth quarter, while Ron Paul brought in $13 million. Rick Santorum has not yet released his numbers.
Campaign manager Jim Messina described the figures as a "pretty good start" in a Web video to supporters earlier this month. But the campaign urged donors to continue to give.
“Too many Obama supporters think we don’t need their money or they don’t need to give now,” Messina said in the video message. “In fact in the past week I’ve gotten emails that say ‘Oh you don’t need our money’ or 'You’re going to raise a billion dollars, why do you need my money?'
“Look, I totally get why people would think that but they’re completely wrong,” Messina continued, adding “the billion-dollar number is completely untrue.”
Messina also knocked the RNC's fundraising effort, arguing that the GOP was advocating to allow corporations to donate directly to campaigns.
"Our opponents don't have the kind of grassroots operation we have," Messina said. "In fact, they don't even believe it. Last week, the Republican party filed a court brief asking that corporations be allowed to contribute directly to campaigns.
"We have a very different view of how to do politics. We think that grassroots campaigns start with small donations and volunteer efforts from people all across this country, people like you."