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The 2nd-quarter dash for dollars

Our breakdown of the 2nd quarter fundraising expectations game: A good quarter for Obama would be $60 million-plus (almost twice what he raised in the 2nd quarter of ’07), and a great quarter would be $80 million-plus… A very good quarter for Romney would be $30-$40 million (more than he raised in the 1st quarter of ’07)… What would be bad news for Pawlenty: If he doesn’t raise more than $6.5 million (the amount that Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson pulled in the 1st quarter of ’07)

*** The dash for dollars: The first milepost of the 2012 presidential race comes on Thursday, when the 2nd fundraising quarter (April 1 to June 30) ends. While the campaigns don’t have to officially file their fundraising numbers until July 15, we can still play the financial expectations game, according to history and our reporting. Let’s start with President Obama: A good quarter for him would be in excess of $60 million -- which is almost twice the amount (about $35 million) that both George W. Bush raised in the 2nd quarter of 2003 and Obama himself raised in the 2nd quarter of 2007. A great quarter would $80 million or more. (If he’s going to raise $1 billion, he’s got to average about $150 million per quarter, and you’d expect his numbers to increase by the general election.) As a lowball number, the campaign says it’s shooting for a combined $60 million with the DNC’s cash. What to watch: Obama’s online fundraising; despite initial concerns that it might not match his 2008 pace, we’ve heard Team Obama is more than pleased with its online haul so far. It says it has a goal of 450,000 overall donors this quarter…

*** Obama's team pushes back against the $60 million and $80 million figures, saying they aren't realistic. "All of the president's events have been joint events for the DNC and the campaign (the Obama victory fund), and a higher share of those dollars go to the DNC – so your expectations for the campaign are totally unrealistic and not going to be met by a longshot," campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt tells First Read. "Why would the campaign itself be expected to double or exceed doubling what we did in '07, without a primary opponent? That just aint going to happen."

*** Obama vs. Romney: As everyone expects, Romney will lap the GOP field in fundraising. His campaign is floating a haul of about $20 million for the quarter, but remember he raised MORE than $20 million in the first quarter of 2007. Given his $10 million-plus single fundraising day -- in addition to all of his other fundraisers over the past couple of months -- a very good quarter would be in excess of $30-$40 million. Note: Romney is raising only primary money (maximum contribution $2,500), and he isn’t putting any of his personal money into the pot.

*** The rest: TPaw, Bachmann, and Huntsman: As Politico reported last week, the buzz is that Tim Pawlenty has been struggling on the financial front. We’ve heard and read that he’s expected to raise more than $2 to $4 million, which would be less than $6 million-plus that both Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson pulled in during the 1st quarter of 2007. Anything substantially less than that -- let alone the $10 million-plus Romney raised in a single day -- would be yet another blow for his campaign. Although Michele Bachmann has been in the race for just two weeks, she’s proved she’s a formidable fundraiser, having raked in more than $13.5 million for her House race last year, and she has nearly $2 million left over from that campaign she can roll over to her presidential account. Similarly, Huntsman has been in the race for just a week, but pulled in $1.2 million in a single fundraiser, and has a total of 18 money events between his announcement and June 30. He has also said he’s loaning the campaign a certain amount to “prime the pump.