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Make no mistake about it: Monday’s re-election announcement by President Obama is about the money.

By filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, the president can begin to fundraise for his re-election campaign. In fact, his campaign has quietly been lining up events across the country for the next few months.

Expect, for instance, to see Obama headline some big-dollar fundraising events starting April 14 in Chicago, where he has set up his re-election headquarters and shipped his top lieutenants to prepare for the campaign.

In 2007 and 2008, then-Sen. Obama of Illinois shattered all records by raising $745.7 million in the last presidential election. The goal this time: $1 billion.

Why now?

Because the clock is ticking.

The second quarter of fundraising began Friday, April 1. The second quarter comes to a close at the end of June, and by then, the Obama re-election campaign will have to show its cards.

Candidate Obama turned heads — and established early on that he would be a serious fundraiser — by raising a whopping $59 million during the first half of 2007. His campaign surely wants to at least match that level again.

The president’s re-election team has been asking campaign bundlers to gather $350,000 each, no easy task since campaign finance laws limit gifts to $2,500 per donor. However, following the recent Supreme Court ruling, corporations and political action committees have virtually no limits in spending on noncandidate, issue-oriented campaigning this election season.


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