ANALYSIS: Obama Takes Campaign to Bay Area, Urban League

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  • President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney don’t have much in common but they do have one shared interest today: collecting cash in California.

    Obama and Romney are in California this week to raise as much money as possible heading into the final 105 days of a campaign where both politicians are locked in a dead heat.

    Obama attended three fundraisers in Oakland Monday and will also speak at fundraising events in San Francisco on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Romney spoke at three fundraisers in San Francisco and took in sizable donations from wealthy Republicans.

    "I love this country, I love America, I love the principles on which America was founded. I want to restore those principles," Romney said, adding that 23 million people are out of work. "These are real human beings, our fellow citizens. … We need to put them back to work."

    California is a rich state that will likely support Obama again, but Romney isn’t conceding California to Obama and is trying to continue his trend of outraising Obama in campaign contributions.

    In June, the Romney campaign and Republican National Committee hauled in $106 million, compared to the Obama campaign’s $71 million. It was the second month in a row that Romney has outspent Obama.

    The Romney financial blitz prompted Obama to write a letter to donors warning supporters that he could trail Romney by historic proportions.

    “I will be the first president in modern history to be outspent in his reelection campaign, if things continue as they have so far,” Obama wrote. “I'm not just talking about the super-PACs and anonymous outside groups — I'm talking about the Romney campaign and the Republicans themselves. Those outside groups just add even more to the underlying problem.”

    It was a surprising admission by Obama and revealed the sobering reality of the Obama campaign’s fundraising efforts.

    “The Romney campaign and the Republicans have recently raised more than us, and the math isn't hard to understand,” Obama said in his letter. “Through the primaries, we raised almost three-quarters of our money from donors giving less than $1,000, while Mitt Romney's campaign raised more than three-quarters of its money from individuals giving $1,000 or more.”

    Many black Democrats say the economic crisis has forced them to scale back on political contributions although many say they will still actively campaign for Obama, work at local campaign offices, drive seniors to polls, and go door-to-door to speak with voters.

    Obama’s letter appealing to donors comes as polls show some good news for the president: In seven of 12 swing states the unemployment rate is below the average of 8.2 percent. Those states – Virginia, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New Mexico – are crucial to Obama’s re-election bid since the president’s entire campaign hinges on the economy’s recovery.

    Meanwhile, the president hopes to fire up his base on Wednesday when he delivers the keynote address during The National Urban League’s annual convention in New Orleans.

    Officials with the Urban League have suggested that Obama may have a tougher time winning at least three battleground states in November if black voter turnout does not reach the record numbers of 2008. A similar slide would also make it difficult for Obama to win in Virginia and Ohio too, according to an Urban League report.

    “We wanted to point out that turnout makes a difference and African-American turnout makes a difference," Marc Morial, president of The National Urban League, said in a statement.

    According to an Urban League report, African-American voters had a huge impact in North Carolina in 2004. More than 127,000 black North Carolina residents who had not voted four years ago voted in 2008, and, because of their support, Obama won North Carolina by about 14,200 votes.

    "President Obama does not take a single vote or support from any community for granted and he is working to secure the same levels of support based on policies that give everyone a fair shot and the opportunity to succeed," Clo Ewing, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, said in a statement.

    In the meantime, the Obama campaign continues to hammer Romney about Romney’s offshore bank accounts and his penchant for sending jobs overseas as a businessman and while he was Governor of Massachusetts, according to Obama’s aides.

    In a television ad released last week, the Obama camp takes aim at Romney.

    “Tax Havens. Offshore accounts. Carried Interest. Mitt Romney has used every trick in the book. Romney admits that over the last two years he's paid less than 15% in taxes on $43 million in income. Makes you wonder if some years he paid any taxes at all,” an announcer said in the ad.

    “We don't know because Romney has released just one full year of his tax returns. And won't release anything before 2010,” the ad says.

    “What is Mitt Romney hiding?” the announcer asks.

    The Obama campaign says a new economic analysis of Romney’s jobs plan found that his proposal to eliminate all U.S. taxes on foreign profits made by U.S. companies could lead to the creation of 800,000 jobs—all of them overseas.
     

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