A HEFTY HAUL FOR OBAMA…. There’s been a fair amount of grumbling in some Democratic circles about whether the Obama campaign’s fundraising is really going to be strong enough to justify opting out of the public financing system.

At this point, the campaign’s strategy remains firmly intact.

Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign announced Sunday that it raised $66 million in August, marking another record fundraising month for the Democrat. The August total was second to the $55 million Obama raised last February.

He reached the $66 million mark with help from more than a half million new donors.

Obama’s total for August was almost $20 million more than the $47 million Republican rival John McCain raised last month.

Obama’s campaign said that with the latest figures he had more than $77 million cash on hand.

In a press release, David Plouffe said, “John McCain says that he’ll take on the special interests and lobbyists, but McCain can’t fix a problem he’s been part of for three decades. The 500,000 new donors to the Obama campaign demonstrate just how strongly the American people are looking to kick the special interests out and change Washington.”

The Obama campaign’s goal all along was to raise $300 million over six months, and the August numbers keeps the campaign on track.

Of course, Obama isn’t just competing with John McCain’s fundraising, he and the DNC are up against the combined totals of McCain and the RNC. With that in mind, the AP noted that Obama fundraisers believe he’ll have to do even better in September and October than he did in August to keep up.

Regardless, $66 million in a single month is pretty darn impressive.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.