Crunching the Numbers on Obama's Third Quarter 2012 Campaign Fundraising

The Obama 2012 re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced Thursday that their fundraising haul was $70 million for the third quarter, down from the second quarter, but far ahead of the GOP field.

According to Fox News tallies - the campaign had 18 fundraisers this quarter, compared to about 31 for the second one.

Since his re-election announcement on April 4, he's had 55 total fundraisers.

The downturn in numbers was largely due to the debt fight, which consumed much of President Obama's schedule in July. Due to optics and non-stop meetings with Congressional leaders about raising the nation's debt ceiling, Obama mostly stayed in Washington during that time.

He picked up his fundraising schedule again starting with his 50th birthday bash in Chicago in August.

Since that time he's been criss-crossing the country, squeezing in fundraisers in places like Florida, Texas and Missouri.

Obama has held 18 fundraisers since the jobs bill was announced, and since his re-election was announced, averaged about a fundraiser every three and a half days.

More than 766,000 total donations came from 606,027 people -- 98 percent of the donations $250 or less, at an average amount of $56, according to the campaign.

In an email to supporters, Obama Campaign Manager Jim Messina, said of the quarter "You came through. Thank you."

The numbers include a joint effort from the DNC and the Obama campaign.

The Republican National Committee has been slamming the president all year for raising money, calling him the "campaigner-in-chief."

"[I]t's no secret President Obama spends a lot of time fundraising and is the most successful fundraiser in history. Obama's problem is he can't replicate that success when it comes to creating jobs. While Obama jetted around the country trying to save his own job, 55,000 Americans gave up looking for employment. This president is going to need every penny he can raise because voters don't believe he has the ability to turn the economy around or create much-needed jobs," RNC Spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski said in response to Thursday's numbers.

The numbers however do show an advantage for the Obama campaign over Republican contenders.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leads the GOP pack with more than $18 million for the first three months, and Texas Governor Rick Perry with $17 million that he raised in less than two months. Perry also has $15 million cash on hand.

Some are estimating that the Obama campaign could reach up to $1 billion in fundraising, but the campaign has shied away from that figure, which would break all records.

The campaign tried to pick up the pace of small donations, asking for $5 and then $3 for a chance to win a dinner with the president.

Former FEC Commissioner Michael Toner says the online and grassroots effort is much harder for an incumbent.

"You are the establishment, you're not someone new. Incumbent fundraising is different and it's hard to raise online when you're a sitting president," he said.

Toner added that obviously the economy takes a toll on presidential fundraising, but the Obama campaign is not on pace to meet, let alone beat its 2008 numbers.

He says Thursday's total was unexpected and doesn't put them in the ballpark for matching or exceeding what they did last time around. "This is very surprising because every president in modern era, raised more than the first time they ran," he said.

Only averaging about $45 million a quarter [for the Obama campaign, not including DNC], Toner notes that puts them behind what they need to reach to match or exceed 2008.