BOSTON - President Barack Obama squeaked out a fundraising victory over Mitt Romney in August as the candidates gear up for the final stretch of their closely contested campaign.
Obama raised more than $114 million in August, while Romney brought in just over $111 million, according to numbers released early Monday by the rival campaigns. It's the first time in four months the Democrats have outraised the Republicans. And it's a sharp increase for the president, who raised $75 million in July.
Despite Obama's advantage in August, it's the third straight month Romney has collected more than $100 million, and the figure represents his best one-month fundraising total. And Romney has socked away more money for the general election campaign.
The Republican hopeful showed signs of taking a new, more centrist tack toward health care and defense spending as he starts the next leg of his campaign with a Monday rally in Mansfield, Ohio, a pivotal region in a battleground state. Obama, who spent the weekend campaigning in Florida, is scheduled to be at the White House.
After weeks of pushing conservative GOP themes leading up to the party convention in Tampa, Fla., Romney's less partisan tone comes as the race shifts toward the Nov. 6 election, which is expected to be decided in fewer than 10 states where neither Romney nor Obama has a significant advantage.
Romney said in an interview that aired Sunday that he would keep in place elements of the federal health-care law signed by Obama in 2010. On NBC's "Meet the Press," Romney said: "I'm not getting rid of all of health care reform. Of course, there are a number of things that I like in health care reform that I'm going to put in place."
Campaign aides said Romney's endorsement of parts of Obama's Affordable Care Act was consistent with his previous position that those who haven't had a gap in coverage shouldn't be denied coverage.
The comments brought renewed attention to the similarities between the bill Obama signed and the one Romney championed when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Romney aides dismissed the idea that the candidate's comments about the defense cuts or health care were an effort to appear less partisan with the race for undecided voters now under way.
"Repealing Obamacare is a focus because it costs too much and the taxes and regulations are hurting small business. That's common sense," spokesman Kevin Madden said. "Affordability and portability of health care insurance aren't partisan issues."
Romney also faulted congressional Republicans for going along with the White House on a budget deal that has set up automatic spending cuts that include huge reductions in defense spending - a deal his running mate, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, helped steer.
Obama on Sunday focused Floridians' attention on the GOP ticket's stand on Medicare, an issue that's been more favorable to Democrats.
At a rally in Melbourne, Fla., Obama told about 3,000 voters that Romney wants insurers to profit at the expense of working Americans.
"No American should have to spend their golden years at the mercy of insurance companies," he said.