Fundraising reports filed last night by the presidential campaigns show President Obama with a slight advantage in fundraising last month, while Republican Mitt Romney has the edge by some other measures.
Each candidate is raising money for his own campaign committee, plus his national party committee and a joint fundraising committee or two.
So what you see depends on what you look at.
In cash on hand, the overall Romney organization finished August with more than $168 million — that's $43 million more than the overall Obama organization.
But Obama outraised Romney, especially when you look at the campaign committees themselves. Donors gave nearly $71 million to Obama for America in August, while Romney for President raised only $27 million.
"Despite the surge that Romney had in the summer in terms of fundraising, you know, Barack Obama remains the king of fundraising," says Bill Allison, editorial director of the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political money.
August was not a good month for the Romney organization, which this summer looked like a fundraising juggernaut.
Big-donor money earmarked for the primary season started to run out, and there was a sharp falloff in contributions of $200 and less to Romney. That translates into roughly 55,000 fewer small donors than the month before.
The campaign fixed its cash flow with a $20 million loan, which isn't unheard-of in presidential races, and the Romney campaign says it has now paid off $9 million of that loan.
But meanwhile, Romney cut back on TV ads in August, and the Obama campaign was able to dominate in battleground states.
The ads against Obama came mainly from two so-called social welfare organizations, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity. These groups, unlike the campaigns themselves, have no contribution limits.
"The one saving grace for Mitt Romney, and it's true throughout this campaign — these organizations that draw the bulk of their donations from a very few people are able to have this incredibly outsized impact," says Allison.
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