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Obama September surge leaves Romney in a $360 million hole

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Unless Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney persuaded donors to cough up $360 million in September, President Barack Obama will remain the all-time king of political fundraising.Outline of the state of Nevada with bullseye

The Obama campaign released preliminary figures showing their candidate's dollar domination in September, when he raised $181 million, the bulk of it--some 98 percent--in chunks of $250 or less. That brings Obama's overall total to a staggering $925 million in the current election cycle, including money raised by his joint fundraising committees, the Obama Victory Fund and the Swing State Victory Fund, and the Democratic National Committee. 

Romney and his surrogates have raised $564 million through August, and have yet to disclose their September numbers. Romney's best month of fundraising came in August, when his campaign and committees announced $112 million in receipts.

While spending by outside groups, including super PACs and nonprofits, has favored Romney, it hasn't been enough to level the playing the field. Obama has been targeted by more than $169 million of spending on everything from attack ads to phone banks and get out the vote efforts to defeat him. Outside groups, including those aligned with Romney's rivals for the Republican nomination, have spent $61 million opposing the former Massachusetts governor.

The campaigns, parties and outside groups have spent more than $1.3 billion to win their candidate a job that pays just $400,000 a year--running a government that spends trillions.