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Obama's fundraising pace increases

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama pulled in $29.1 million for his re-election campaign and the Democratic Party in January, raising his total for this election cycle to about $250 million.

The sum, announced Friday, shows that he's picked up the pace from his $23-million-a-month average of the final three months of last year.

According to financial reports and Obama campaign officials, the Obama Victory Fund, a joint venture of his campaign and the Democratic National Committee, raised $13.4 million. Separately, the Obama campaign raised $9.3 million, the DNC $6.1 million and an Obama swing state fund $384,000.

That fundraising concluded before the campaign's announcement this month that, in a reversal, Obama will embrace the big-money fundraising groups he once criticized and let them help in his re-election. Those so-called super PACs, financed with large donations from a small group of individuals, have been prominent in the Republican primary and are poised to spend millions in the general election contest.

The Obama campaign said 98 percent of January donations were $250 or less. Federal Election Commission filings show that Obama's campaign alone pulled in more than $5 million in unitemized contributions, usually less than $200 apiece.

Many of those donors, however, are repeat contributors, meaning that their aggregate donations over the past year would exceed $250. Still, the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, which analyzes contributions, found that small donors -- whose aggregate contributions amounted to less than $200 -- accounted tfor 48 percent of Obama's campaign income in 2011.

In contrast, the institute found that small donors accounted for only 9 percent of the 2011 fundraising for Republican Mitt Romney, who is battling for front-runner status in the GOP primary and is the top fundraiser in that contest.

The January numbers, which candidates must submit by Monday, were being reported as Obama concluded a three-day trip to California and Washington that included eight fundraisers expected to raise $8 million.