Obama fundraising momentum continues

When it comes to raising cash, the President is streets ahead of his Republican rivals

Figures released yesterday show that Barack Obama raised $70m between July and September - $42m for his own re-election campaign and nearly $28m for the Democratic National Commmitee, which helps coordinate the election campaigns of the party's Congressional candidates.

Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, said that of the 600,000 people who donated so far, 98 per cent gave $250 or less and as many as 250,000 had never donated before. Messina also claims that the Obama campaign staff has grown by 50 per cent in the last three months and is now opening three new field offices every week. This suggests that, despite the President's poor poll ratings, he still commands a huge amount of support from middle-class Americans and grass-roots activists.

In contrast, since entering the race in August to become the GOP 2012 presidential candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry has only raised around $17m. According to The New York Times, Republican front-runner Mitt Romney had raised two or three million less than that. Provided no Democrats decide to stand against him, Obama has the added advantage of not having to go through a costly and time-consuming primary election process, meaning he will be free to refine his re-election strategy for a number of months yet.

James Maxwell is a Scottish political journalist. He is based between Scotland and London.

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Britain is running out of allies as it squares up to Russia

For whatever reason, Donald Trump is going to be no friend of an anti-Russia foreign policy.

The row over Donald Trump and that dossier rumbles on.

Nothing puts legs on a story like a domestic angle, and that the retired spy who compiled the file is a one of our own has excited Britain’s headline writers. The man in question, Christopher Steele, has gone to ground having told his neighbour to look after his cats before vanishing.

Although the dossier contains known errors, Steele is regarded in the intelligence community as a serious operator not known for passing on unsubstantiated rumours, which is one reason why American intelligence is investigating the claims.

“Britain's role in Trump dossier” is the Telegraph’s splash, “The ‘credible’ ex-MI6 man behind Trump Russia report” is the Guardian’s angle, “British spy in hiding” is the i’s splash.

But it’s not only British headline writers who are exercised by Mr Steele; the Russian government is too. “MI6 officers are never ex,” the Russian Embassy tweeted, accusing the UK of “briefing both ways - against Russia and US President”. “Kremlin blames Britain for Trump sex storm” is the Mail’s splash.

Elsewhere, Crispin Blunt, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, warns that relations between the United Kingdom and Russia are as “bad as they can get” in peacetime.

Though much of the coverage of the Trump dossier has focused on the eyecatching claims about whether or not the President-Elect was caught in a Russian honeytrap, the important thing, as I said yesterday, is that the man who is seven days from becoming President of the United States, whether through inclination or intimidation, is not going to be a reliable friend of the United Kingdom against Russia.

Though Emanuel Macron might just sneak into the second round of the French presidency, it still looks likely that the final choice for French voters will be an all-Russia affair, between Francois Fillon and Marine Le Pen.

For one reason or another, Britain’s stand against Russia looks likely to be very lonely indeed.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.