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Obama team touts grassroots strength

In a conference call with reporters this morning, the Obama re-election campaign used its fundraising numbers to signal that its base of supporters is engaged and energized for 2012.

Campaign Manager Jim Messina fired off the numbers: 552,000 individual donors, 260,000 new donors who didn't contribute in 2008, and average contribution of $69 per donor, 98% of total contributions coming from donations of $250 or less.

"This should end any chatter about our grassroots base," he said on the call.

Messina also lowered expectations for the next quarter (July 1 through Sept. 30), saying that donors are typically less engaged during the summer months, and that the 2008 Obama campaign experienced a drop-off in the 3rd quarter of 2007. (That said, in 2003, George W. Bush saw his fundraising increase from his 2nd quarter to his 3rd.)

The Obama campaign noted that none of the GOP presidential campaigns is so far disclosing its bundlers (like the Obama campaign is), and that the GOP campaigns are accepting money from lobbyists and PACs (which the Obama campaign isn't doing).