After slamming Bush-era tax cuts and calling Mitt Romney a business “outsourcer,” President Obama said Tuesday in Austin that he would remind the world why America is the best country in the world if he was sent back to the White House.
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Obama’s remarks came during a 35-minute speech to about 1,100 supporters at the Austin Music Hall, where he also jabbed at Republicans for their opposition to expanding health care and their efforts to gut funding for family planning.
“We’re not ending funding for Planned Parenthood,” Obama said to deafening cheers. “I think women should have control over their own health care decisions.”
Obama touted his administration’s accomplishments, like passing federal health care reform and killing terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden. Though Obama acknowledged there was more to do and said he was not the “perfect” president, he painted an ominous picture of America if the White House was once again home to a Republican president.
“Their basic theory is that if you take Bush tax cuts, on top of that you add a layer of $5 trillion more tax cuts, mostly for the wealthy, and you eliminate regulations on polluters and regulations we put in place to prevent another meltdown on Wall Street … and let folks at the very top maximize their profits that we will all do better,” he said.
Obama also targeted Romney over his alleged outsourcing while the head of Bain Capital, saying voters are right to question the former Massachusetts governor’s private-sector record.
“Gov. Romney’s main calling card for running for office is his business experience, so understandably the American people have been asking, ‘Well, let’s find out what he’s been doing,’” he said. “And if your main experience is investing in companies that are called ‘pioneers of outsourcing,’ then that indicates that we have different visions.”
Obama sought to distinguish himself from Romney on immigration, though he didn’t mention his recent order to grant some immigrants relief from deportation proceedings.
“Mr. Romney thinks that the Arizona law should be a model for the nation. I think we are a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants,” he said before touting his support for the DREAM Act, drawing cheers that drowned out his following remarks.
Obama’s election-year decision to halt deportation proceedings drew a crowd of supporters who protested the president last year during his visit to Austin. They said on Tuesday, however, that they still demand more.
“After two years, he finally gave us deferred action, and so we’re want to thank him,” said Julieta Garibay, an immigrant who would benefit from the DREAM Act. “Some students came out to say, ‘Thank you, President Obama,’ but we still need immigration reform and the DREAM Act.’ It’s a good step, but it’s not the whole enchilada. We want everything.”
The event was open to supporters willing to pay $250 for general admission seating or $1,000 for preferred seating, according to the campaign website.
Earlier in the day, Obama spoke at a fundraising luncheon in San Antonio. His campaign estimated that it would bring in $3.5 million from the Texas stops, surpassing the $2 million Obama collected last May in visits to El Paso and Austin.
The money should keep him at parity with Romney’s fundraising levels in Texas, if not surpass them. Before Tuesday, the president managed to haul in $7,468,774 from Texas donors, just shy of Romney’s $7,468,894, according to the Federal Election Commission.
The Romney campaign did not appear too concerned, however, saying that it got a later start.
“The Romney vs. Obama campaign and fundraising has only been occurring for a couple months, so I’m not sure cumulative numbers are really telling at this point,” said Romney campaign spokesman Christopher Walker. “Also, as we’ve seen in the previous two months of fundraising, we have a tremendous amount of enthusiasm for the campaign.”
The president’s visit also served as low-hanging fruit for Republicans, with Gov. Rick Perry leading the charge. Hours before Obama landed in Austin, Perry, who was recently thrust back into the national spotlight after announcing that Texas would not expand Medicaid to include coverage of the state’s poorest adults, slammed the president for recent statements U.S. Attorney Eric Holder made about the state’s contentious voter ID law. Holder compared the law, which requires that voters show a photo ID before casting a ballot and is currently tangled up in federal courts, to a poll tax reminiscent of the Jim Crow era.
“Perhaps while the president is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his attorney general’s offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law,” Perry said in a statement. “Eric Holder purposefully used language designed to inflame passions and incite racial tension. It was not only inappropriate, but simply incorrect on its face.”
JULIAN AGUILAR reports for the Texas Tribune where this story was originally published. It is reprinted here through a news partnership between the Tribune and the San Marcos Mercury.
by JULIAN AGUILAR
After two straight months of being outraised by presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, President Obama is eying Tuesday as a possible record-breaking day for fundraising in Texas.
The Obama campaign’s previous high for a day of fundraising in Texas was about $2 million, when Obama traveled to El Paso and Austin last May, a source close to Obama’s re-election campaign said. The campaign expects to raise about $3.5 million during Tuesday’s Texas stops in San Antonio and Austin.
The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee reportedly raised $106 million in June, outpacing Obama’s campaign, which tallied $71 million.
The president will attend an event at Austin Music Hall on Tuesday evening after an afternoon fundraising reception in San Antonio at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. The campaign said it expects about 1,000 people at the Austin event.
Obama is scheduled make his remarks at the Austin Music Hall event at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday. That follows his scheduled remarks at about 1 p.m. at the San Antonio reception, where he will be joined by actress Eva Longoria; Mayor Julián Castro; and U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-San Antonio, according to the campaign’s website.
In Austin, the event will be organized, in part, by the LGBT Leadership Council and feature musician Jerry Jeff Walker. The event is open to supporters who pay $250 for general admission seating or $1,000 for preferred seating, according to the campaign website.
Officials with the Texas Democratic Party would not say how many elected officials are expected to attend, adding that it is not involved in planning the event. That said, the party is optimistic the visit will provide some energy for Texas Democrats.
“We’re always excited to welcome the President to Texas. President Obama fires up and motivates our base,” Texas Democratic Party spokeswoman Rebecca Acuña said in an email. “These same Democrats are also excited about the strong slate of candidates we have going into November.”
The president will also attend a more exclusive event at the Four Seasons hotel, hosted by former Dell Inc. finance chief Tom Meredith, according to the Austin-American Statesman.
“We have momentum, excitement on the ground, and more grassroots donors and volunteers than any campaign in history,” Ann Marie Habershaw, the chief operating officer for Obama for America, wrote to supporters in an email.
Despite being outraised by his challenger, the Obama camp is likely to continue pouring money into ads challenging Romney’s qualifications. On his website, Romney cites a Washington Post study that finds Obama has spent more than $51 million in television ads, compared with Romney’s $23 million. Romney says that despite the surge in the Obama campaign’s spending, he is narrowing the gap.
“The three most recent national polls (released since Friday afternoon), show the Presidential race to be a dead heat – Rasmussen has the race tied, while both the Gallup tracking and the recent McClatchy/Marist poll show President Obama with a two-point margin,” the Romney campaign said on its campaign website. “If throwing the kitchen sink at Gov. Romney while leveraging a two-to-one ad-spending advantage doesn’t move numbers for the President, that’s got to tell you something about the state of the electorate.”