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3rd Quarter Campaign Donations Off The Mark


In the back rooms of the presidential campaigns, accountants are adding up fundraising numbers for the third quarter. The totals won't officially be released until the end of next week, but some are already leaking out. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY: Political scientist Candice Nelson, at American University, says that would be an achievement.

CANDICE NELSON: He's only been in the race for six weeks and he's raised 10 million, which was more than any candidate, other than Romney, raised in the second quarter.

OVERBY: Romney - Mitt Romney, that is, the former governor of Massachusetts, cut a video for his last-minute drive for dollars. There was a contest. The prize: a day on the campaign trail.

MITT ROMNEY: It's the last day where you can get a contribution in that will allow you, potentially, to spend a day with me on the campaign trail. So get the contribution in today.

OVERBY: A spokeswoman for Romney says the campaign brought in considerably less last quarter than the $18 million raised in the spring. The other Republican candidates are expected to trail significantly. And nobody in the GOP comes close to President Obama in the money race. Like Romney, Mr. Obama made a video last week. He got to the point.

OVERBY: We've got to build our organization now, and we're facing a major fundraising deadline on September 30th. Help by pitching in. I'll see you out there.

OVERBY: But Candice Nelson, the political scientist, says the Obama fundraising operation still looks like a juggernaut.

NELSON: We forget what it used to be like, back in '04. I mean, these are huge numbers.

OVERBY: Peter Overby NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Peter Overby has covered Washington power, money, and influence since a foresighted NPR editor created the beat in 1994.