Third-quarter fundraising reports were due at midnight from every presidential candidate.

The Post’s T.W. Farnam provides all the numbers here.

Below, The Fix digs a little deeper and tells you what the numbers mean. Here are five things you should know. . .

Obama is still fundraising king

President Obama took some time off the fundraising circuit as he tried to forge a deal on the debt ceiling controversy, and he still turned in one of the best quarters in history.

Obama raised $43 million for his campaign and another $27 million for the Democratic National Committee. That’s one of the best quarters on record for an off year and, counting just the money for his campaign, well more than twice as much as any Republican candidate.

Obama’s team continues to show a knack for raising big bucks. Even as independents and key donor groups (like Wall Street) have wandered away from the president and his base grows unhappy, he’s still finding plenty of ways to raise money. And lots of it.

House fundraising isn’t the same as presidential fundraising

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was a fundraising juggernaut in the House, pulling in $13 million for her 2010 reelection campaign – including nearly $9 million in the final four months.

Nearly four months into this campaign, though, Bachmann has raised just $5.5 million, despite the fact that she won the Ames Straw Poll in August. Bachmann’s $3.9 million raised in the third quarter is particularly disappointing given the bump she should have gotten from that win.

Bachmann successfully turned herself into a conservative cause celebre as a House candidate. In the presidential race, she has yet to tap that same support.

Pledges don’t equal money

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman’s campaign launched June 21, but he didn’t have to file a report for the final week-plus of the second quarter (which runs through the end of June). So instead, his campaign simply passed along word that he had raised more than $4 million in that short time – part of it from the candidate’s own pocket.

So imagine our surprise when, after three more months of fundraising, the campaign last week reported just more than $4.5 million raised for the entire campaign – including that week-plus where they supposedly raised more than $4 million.

So he only raised half a million more during that three months, right? Wrong. The number the campaign passed along at the end of the second quarter was based on pledges – i.e. not actual money – and many of those pledges didn’t pan out.

Pumping up your numbers one quarter is one thing; but it just makes things that much harder the next.

Burn rate is key

We often focus a little too much on how much a candidate is raising, and not enough on how much he or she is spending.

To wit: Bachmann spent $2 million more than she raised in the third quarter, Huntsman has gone deep into debt to stay afloat, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich remains deep in debt, and even Mitt Romney is spending money pretty quickly.

Despite being in the race for three fewer months, Texas Gov. Rick Perry already has more cash on hand than the former Massachusetts governor – in large part because of Romney’s high burn rate (i.e. how much you spend versus how much you raise).

Romney has raised more than $32 million over two quarters, while Perry raised more than $17 million in one quarter. But Perry has a small edge on cash on hand -- $15.1 million to $14.7 million – because Romney has spent more than half the money he raised, while Perry has spent only about one-eighth.

Romney’s team is quick to say that the money has been invested in building infrastructure in key states, and that his burn rate early on was much smaller. But it’s something worth keeping an eye on (with the caveat being that the candidate will always be able to supplement any cash shortages with some of his own personal funds).

Cain he?

The Herman Cain boomlet came pretty late in the quarter, so we weren’t necessarily expecting a huge quarter from the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO. But even considering that, $2.8 million raised is a pretty pedestrian quarter.

Cain’s report shows he did indeed get a bump, with most of his contributions coming in the final week of the quarter after he won the Florida straw poll.

The real question with him will be how he’s able to harness his current momentum and how much he has raised over the last two weeks, when that boomlet turned him into legitimate frontrunner.


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