Page last updated at 13:11 GMT, Sunday, 19 October 2008 14:11 UK

Obama breaks fundraising record

Barack Obama
Mr Obama is is proving increasingly popular with campaign donors

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama raised a record monthly total of more than $150m (86m) in September, his campaign says.

The figure brought Mr Obama's total fundraising to $605m, dwarfing the total of his Republican rival.

Mr Obama has opted out of the US campaign public financing system.

Republican candidate John McCain chose to remain in the system. It limits him to $84m for the September-October period, ahead of November's election.

Mr Obama is the first candidate not to take public financing since the system was introduced in the mid-1970s, and as a result he has no spending limit.

Nationwide appeal

While Mr McCain's campaign stopped taking new donations - except for legal and administrative matters - before the end of August, Mr Obama continues to attract both new money and new donors.

Americans who have had enough, who want a change and who are really fuelling this campaign
David Plouffe
Obama campaign manager

The Obama campaign said it had 632,000 new donors during September, bringing the total number of those who have donated to more than 3.1 million.

The average amount of the donations, many of which are sourced through the candidate's website, came in at $86, Mr Obama's campaign manager said.

The huge cash reserves at his disposal have allowed Mr Obama to operate well-staffed operations in several key states, opening more offices than his Republican opponent and buying more TV advertising.

Mr Obama's campaign has bought 30 minutes of nationwide air time for the candidate to make a "closing argument" to the American people on 29 October, one week before the presidential election.

"The overall numbers obviously are impressive," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said of the latest donation figures.

"But it's what's beneath the numbers in terms of average Americans who have had enough, who want a change and who are really fuelling this campaign."

Rallies continue

Mr McCain has regularly upbraided his rival for choosing not to accept public campaign finance, despite making a pledge to do so.

The Democratic candidate changed his mind after setting fund-raising records during his long primary battle against Hillary Clinton.

Mr McCain most recently raised the issue during the final presidential debate last week, accusing him of breaking a clearlymade campaign promise.

With just 16 days left before the vote, Mr Obama leads Mr McCain in national opinion polls.

But Mr McCain has been trying to shore up support in swing states.

He is due to take part in rallies in Ohio on Sunday. Mr Obama will be campaigning in North Carolina.

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