Powell, Fresh Funds Boost Obama

Obama gets Colin Powell's support and the Democrat's campaign raised $150 million in September.
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Sen. Barack Obama's (D., Ill.) campaign for the White House continues to sail at a strong clip, and a couple of big news events over the weekend added more wind to the sails.

First, Obama's campaign announced blowout fund-raising numbers for September -- a record $150 million. Coming on the heels of those impressive numbers was the endorsement of Colin Powell on Sunday morning talk show

Meet the Press

.

Obama set fund-raising records in August with $66 million in support that month. He raised the bar with even bigger numbers in September, putting his opponent Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) at a severe disadvantage. The Obama campaign announced 632,000 new donors in September alone. The campaign now has the largest donor base ever reported in any campaign, reaching 3.1 million supporters. Many of the recent donations have come in amounts below $200.

The Obama campaign has plastered the airwaves with ads. In addition, it has taken out a large block of time on primetime television on Wednesday, Oct. 29. These spots have proved expensive, with

CBS

stating it charged the campaign $380,000 to replace the network's normal programming.

Photo gallery: Race for the White House

McCain

has strongly criticized Obama for his funding. He suggested the lack of public financing would ruin campaigns for the future, as happened following the Watergate scandal. "The dam is broken. We're now going to see huge amounts of money coming into political campaigns, and we know history tells us that always leads to scandal, he said on

Fox News Sunday

.

McCain's protestations were drowned out by other news, however. Colin Powell endorsed Obama while appearing on another Sunday news show. "I think he is a transformational figure," said Powell, a registered Republican.

Powell had served as the national security adviser, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and secretary of state under President George Bush. He has significant experience in both diplomatic and military affairs, and he said Obama is ready to lead.

Powell expressed doubts about McCain's judgment because of his choice of Gov. Sarah Palin (R., Alaska) as vice president: "I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president."

Four national polls were released Monday offering a picture of the presidential contest. Each had Obama in the lead, with the average margin about six percentage points.