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Updated: John McCain was first to fire off a post-debate fundraising pitch

September 26, 2008 |  8:26 pm

That wasn't long.

Within 25 minutes of the end of tonight's debate, the first pitch for money was sent. John McCain was first out of the block, sending a fundraising appeal even as his aides still were spinning reporters about why he had won the debate and Barack Obama and lost.

But McCain also went on the fundraising offensive. His missive, sent on behalf of the Republican National Party, said the debate proved he would make a better president than Obama, and then made the pitch: "We won't win without your support. ...

"I'm asking you to help us by making a contribution right now to McCain-Palin Victory 2008."

UPDATED: Obama sent his pitch out a few hours after the debate, once again denouncing McCain as "offering nothing but more of the same failed Bush policies," and seeking donations of $5 more or more.

Candidates sending such e-mails expect people receiving the e-mails will respond by tapping their credit cards to send them a few more bucks. That has added up, particularly for Obama.

Obama’s fundraising machine is a hybrid. Half of it runs on old-fashioned fuel: big money donations. The rest arrives in the political equivalent of nickels and dimes.

An analysis by the Campaign Finance Institute shows that 51% of Obama’s money has come in increments of $200 or less in August, compared to 41 % of McCain's money.

Overall, Obama had raised $222 million in contributions of $200 or less, or 49% of the total $454 million he has raised in his presidential campaign. The CFI notes that’s more than McCain or Hillary Clinton raised in their entire campaigns (excluding money she loaned herself).

Of course, Obama also has raised more than McCain in donations of $1,000 or more -- $147.7 million, or a third of his total, to $109.6 million for McCain, or 54% of his haul.

The Campaign Finance Institute notes that big fundraisers play a significant role in each candidate's campaign. Obama and McCain have relied on 500 bundlers each to collect high-dollar donations.

-- Dan Morain

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