Obama donates to his own campaign

President Obama announced Tuesday that he donated to his own campaign, a $5,000 contribution made online, according to a tweet from campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

In an email, the president urged supporters to follow his lead and donate before Tuesday's midnight reporting deadline for the month of June.

"Yesterday, I made my first donation to support this campaign," Obama writes. "On its own, what I gave won't be enough to surmount the unprecedented fundraising we've seen on the other side, both from our opponent's campaign and from the outside groups and special interests supporting him."

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The $5,000 donation is the maximum an outside individual can donate directly to a political campaign — although Obama himself is not actually capped in his ability to donate, and anyone can give a far larger amount to the joint committees set up between campaigns and national political parties. 

In fact, Mitt and Ann Romney each donated $75,000 to the joint Romney-Republican National Committee Victory Fund in the month of May.

Democrats hope the president's move will inspire more grassroots donations, which the incumbent will need to keep pace with Mitt Romney's impressive fundraising effort. In each of the past two months, Obama's campaign has been outraised by Romney, with the Republican building a $35 million advantage in June alone. The Obama campaign also has significantly outpaced Romney in terms of spending, running a deficit in June.

In 2008, then-Sen. Obama did not donate to his $639 million war chest, according to the Chicago Tribune. But Michelle Obama gave $399 to the effort, and the Obamas sent $4,600 to former rival Hillary Clinton's campaign to help her clear debt after she exited the race.