Video: Romney hopes momentum lingers in Fla.

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    >> one month from today we'll be coming on the air counting down to the poll closings. the month to go mark in a race that's taken potential game changing twist this week. mitt romney 's strong debate performance and yesterday's timely drop in the nation's unemployment rate . these are critical days on every level from fund-raising to how the candidates define themselves and each other to an electorate that is now fully engaged and focused. our andrea mitchell is standing by with analysis, but first nbc's peter alexander on the campaign trail in florida tonight. good evening.

    >> reporter: with one month to go, mitt romney is trying to capture the energy, with more enthusiastic crowds and a simpler message.

    >> thank you.

    >> reporter: after weeks that reenergized republicans and reinvigorated the race, president obama is trying to blunt mitt romney 's momentum embracing friday's encouraging economic news.

    >> we learned that the unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since i took office. more americans are entering the workforce. more americans are getting jobs.

    >> but romney hasn't ceded any ground, attacking failed policies that have stifled growth.

    >> the participation of our adults in the workforce were the same as at the time he got elected our unemployment rate would be 11%.

    >> reporter: both are touting the fund-raising tallies. $181 million for obama in september, the most for either side this year. with romney collecting more than 12 million following the debate.

    >> both sides will have a tremendous amount of money down the final stretch of this campaign, particularly that obama $181 million. that's going to allow them potentially to compete almost one to one with all of that republican outside money .

    >> reporter: still, romney is facing lingering questions about some of his recent assertions.

    >> number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan.

    >> reporter: including his argument that his health care plan would cover people who already have medical problems. that decision would be left to the state. that explanation was quickly picked up by president obama at a rally in northern virginia friday.

    >> governor romney was fact-checked by his own campaign.

    >> reporter: to counter opponents' effort as an out of touch executive, romney shifted to tell more of his own life story , including his friendship with a 14-year-old diagnosed with leukemia.

    >> there's a saying, clear eyes, full heart, can't lose. david couldn't lose. i love that young man.

    >> justin, this is actually ann romney calling.

    >> reporter: today ann visited phone banks in florida .

    >> i've been getting a lot of feedback about the debate?

    >> reporter: and looking to replicate his performance in the first debate, mitt romney is not wasting any time preparing for the second, squaring off against his sparring partner, his running mate paul ryan is preparing for this week's vice presidential debate and he is back home in wisconsin.

    >> peter alexander on the trail tonight in florida . thanks. let's

By Brad Knickerbocker Staff writer
updated 10/7/2012 12:20:05 AM ET 2012-10-07T04:20:05

Early in the presidential campaign, there was talk of President Obama raising and spending $1 billion on his re-election effort. With the latest report and a month still to go as the hotly-contest race accelerates toward Election Day, it looks like he’ll easily make that figure.

“Some amazing news this morning: 1,825,813 people came together to raise $181 million for this campaign in September,” Obama tweeted Saturday as the campaign released its figures for last month.

That brings the Obama campaign’s total fund raising to $947 million – well on the way to passing the billion-dollar mark and the 2008 total.

The $181 million, raised by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee, was far more than the $114 million raised in August and nearly as much as the record monthly amount collected in September 2008 ($193 million).

“It's a record-breaking sum that far exceeds anything Obama or Mitt Romney has previously raised in a given month, and is a sign of Obama's expansive liberal donor base reengaging in a big way for the final month of the race,” writes Alexander Burns at Politico.com.

On CSMonitor.com: Presidential debate: 7 defining moments in history (+video)

It’s also a sign that the Democratic National Convention in early September – especially the speeches by first lady Michelle Obama and former president Bill Clinton – energized donors as well as delegates.

Contributions have come from more than a half-million people who had never given to Obama’s presidential campaigns (either in 2008 or in 2012), campaign officials reported. The average contribution has been $53, and all but two percent were $250 or less. In all, the campaign claims to have collected more than 10 million individual donations – an effort campaign manager Jim Messina in an e-mail to supporters called “a historic record for grass-roots politics.”

In general, the Obama campaign gets most of its donations from individuals limited to $2,500, the Romney campaign more heavily from “Super PACs” with no upper limit.

Video: Romney hopes momentum lingers in Fla. (on this page)

As of Sept. 21, according to a Washington Post tally, Obama had raised $441 million from individuals and $44 million from Super PACs; Romney had raised $284 million from individuals and $145 million from Super PACs. The DNC and the RNC had raised $233 million and $283 million respectively.

“Obama has raised nearly half his money through small donations with aggressive solicitation programs targeting e-mail, social media, and cell phone texting services,” the Washington Post reports.

Obama’s listless debate performance Wednesday night – dispiriting to many Democrats – was followed Friday by September jobs numbers showing a symbolically-important drop in unemployment from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. The election is just one month from today, and the week’s two major news stories seem likely to galvanize the incumbent’s campaign.

Video: Romney igniting GOP base (on this page)

"The jobs numbers and the campaign-finance numbers will take Democrats out of group therapy and keep them focused on the urgent task ahead of re-electing the president," Robert Zimmerman, a New York-based Democratic National Committee member and an Obama fundraiser, told the Wall Street Journal Saturday.

Although it has not yet released its September fund raising figures, Mitt Romney’s campaign says it’s seeing a surge in contributions following Wednesday night’s presidential debate, which analysts universally saw as a big win for Romney. Friday, the campaign boasted of $12 million in new online donations generated by the debate.

Given the tightness of the race – early post-debate polls show Romney closing the gap and in some states moving past Obama – the Obama campaign is urging supporters to dig deeper.

“There is exactly one month left to go until Election Day,” Messina wrote in his e-mail. “The stakes are too high for us to take our foot off the gas now. Chip in … and let’s go win.”

This article, "Latest figures show Obama campaign war chest approaching $1 billion," first appeared on CSMonitor.com.

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© 2012 The Christian Science Monitor

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