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Obama campaign, DNC raised $53M in March

The Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee raised $53 million in March.

That’s the best month of fundraising for the year — the two pulled in $29 million in January and $45 million in February, bringing the first-quarter total to $127 million. The Obama campaign and DNC combined to raise only $68 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

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The figures were released in a video targeting grassroots donors, in which small, first-time contributors announced the results.

According to the video, 190,000 of the 567,000 March donors were first-time contributors, 97 percent of the donors gave $250 or less, and the average donation was $50.78.

“This really is how this works, people building this organization, 5 and 10 bucks at a time to take on Mitt Romney,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina says in the video. “We are now required to file a fundraising report with the FEC every single month throughout the election, which means we’ll be reporting back to you every month on what this organization is raising and how.”

While the year started off sluggishly for Obama's reelection fundraising, Democrats are hopeful that with the GOP primary winding down, and the emergence of a presumptive Republican candidate in Mitt Romney, that the existence of a clearly defined opponent will encourage more contributions from Democratic supporters.

In March, the Obama campaign told top congressional Democrats that they shouldn’t expect the same financial help from the DNC that they received in 2008 and 2010 for House and Senate campaigns, because all of the resources would be directed to the president’s reelection.

The Republican National Committee shot back at the Obama campaign numbers, calling the president “fundraiser-in-chief.”

“Giving lobbyists and special interests special access to the White House, it’s no surprise Obama is still the fundraiser-in-chief,” RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said in a statement. “Big money contributions will not take away from the fact that President Obama cannot run on his record and is simply offering shiny objects to distract from his failure to bring hope and change to Americans as he promised.”

Romney and the Republican National Committee began fundraising together earlier this month. The RNC had its best fundraising month to date in March, pulling in $13.7 million. Romney has yet to release his March numbers, but pulled in $12 million in February.

—This story was updated at 8:54 a.m.