Obama, Dems Raise $53M in March

(Image Credit: Susan Walsh/AP Photo)

As the money race for the general election heats up, President Obama's campaign reports raising $53 million in March, picking up pace from the month before.

The total reflects funds collected directly by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and two joint fundraising accounts. In February, they reported $45 million combined.

While the president's fundraising is on the rise, it does not reflect the same level of enthusiasm for Obama four years ago. In March 2008, Obama raised $42.8 million by himself without the help of the DNC.

"People are building this organization five and ten bucks at a time to take on Mitt Romney," says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina in a campaign video announcing the total.  But, he added, "we're all going to have to dig a little deeper."

The video showcases grassroots volunteers and donors, whom Obama aides have called the president's secret weapon for the fall, setting his effort apart from Republican rival Romney.

More than 190,000 Americans donated to Obama for the first time in March, according to the campaign.  Of the 567,000 donations last month, 97 percent were reportedly $250 or less.  The average donation was $50.78.

While Obama's fundraising has fallen slightly off his record-setting 2008 pace over the past few months, his coffers still dwarf those of Romney.

Obama and his affiliates have collected nearly $350 million for the 2012 campaign.  Romney has reported raising roughly $75 million through February, but pro-Romney super PACs have vowed to spend $200 million or more to help him get elected.

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