President Obama has been lighting up the campaign finance trail this year, collecting nearly $90 million over the course of 69 fundraising events in 2011. That’s three times as many as Bill Clinton and roughly two-thirds more than George W. Bush attended in the same period.

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, at $32 million so far, is a distant second place in the race for campaign cash. Obama raised more than $650 million in 2008 and is expected to rally at least $1 billion for the next election. Any Democrat seeking office must work to stay far ahead of conservative fundraising groups set loose by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. –ARK

Mother Jones:

The president’s ramped-up fundraising efforts reflect the changing landscape of money in American politics, especially in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Clinton and Bush II didn’t have to worry about candidate-specific super-PACs and Karl Rove’s shadowy Crossroads GPS outfit raising tens of millions of dollars to finance negative ads. And with the collapse of the presidential public financing system, which capped a candidate’s spending, it’s up to the candidates to rustle up as much private money as they can in the campaign arms race. (Obama opted out of the public financing system during the 2008 election, becoming the first presidential candidate to do so.)

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