Oct 8, 2012 / 5:38 am
Fresh off his strongest fundraising month this year, President Barack Obama is looking to raise millions of dollars from celebrities and wealthy donors in California with just one month left in a tightening race.
The two-day swing through the solidly Democratic state highlights the critical role that fundraising will play in the campaign's final weeks as Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, escalate their barrage of television ads in competitive states like Ohio in the run-up to the Nov. 6 election. The president is to return there Tuesday.
Romney, campaigning in up-for-grabs Florida, sought to build on the momentum from a debate performance last week that even Democrats conceded was "masterful." The Republican told a crowd of about 12,000 in Port St. Lucie that he had enjoyed himself, ticking off a list of Obama shortcomings he said he had exposed during the first debate.
"Now of course, days later, we're hearing his excuses," Romney said. "And next January we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time."
As Romney finished speaking, someone in the crowd of supporters behind him held up a giant Israeli flag alongside smaller American flags, underscoring the amplified role that foreign affairs and the Middle East is playing as the presidential race draws to a close. Romney on Monday plans a major foreign policy address at the Virginia Military Institute, intended to throw Obama back on his heels over his handling of unrest in Libya and elsewhere.
Obama campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, dismissing what she called Romney's fourth or fifth attempt to explain his global intentions, said the bar is high for Romney to convince voters he's prepared to be commander in chief.
"We are not going to be lectured by someone who's been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy every time he sticks his toe in the foreign policy waters," Psaki said aboard Air Force One as Obama made his way to California.
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