With the general election campaign just a few months away, President Barack Obama’s friends are under growing pressure to raise money rapidly for Democratic-leaning independent groups. The huge cash advantage mustered by Republican groups could prove decisive this fall, overwhelming Obama despite his own formidable fund-raising system.

For instance, while Priorities USA Action — a super PAC supporting the president’s re-election — combined with another group to raise $6.1 million by the end of 2011, American Crossroads — the leading Republican super PAC — took in $51 million in 2011 and expects to eventually raise $240 million.

How vital are these fund-raising efforts to Obama's re-election campaign? Also, if he is lagging behind financially, what can be done to help his campaign catch up?