At fundraisers, Obama says 60 percent of promises kept
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President Barack racked up cash for his re-election campaign at fundraisers in Nevada and California on Monday, declaring that he had kept 60 percent of the promises he made as a candidate in 2008.
Obama is in the middle of a three-day swing through battleground states in the West, a trip that Republicans have blasted as evidence that he cares more about saving his own job than helping unemployed Americans.
Mixing official White House business with stops to raise funds, Obama -- who is far ahead of his rivals in campaign cash -- is working to expand the financial advantage he hopes to maintain next year.
As part of his message at one fundraiser, where some 40 donors each paid $35,800 to attend, Obama listed his accomplishments since entering office in 2009 and said he needed more time to finish what his administration had begun.
"A lot of the things that we promised we'd do, we've done," Obama said, citing healthcare reform and ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy preventing gay men and women from serving openly in the U.S. military.
"I carry around a little checklist, and I think we've got about 60 percent of it done so far. And that's not bad for three years, because I need another five."
Obama, whose small audience included actor Will Smith and former basketball star Magic Johnson, touted an initiative he announced earlier to help struggling homeowners refinance their mortgages.
"That could free up billions of dollars for American consumers who can then shop and go to Will's movies, spend money at whatever business Magic has these days, and could help grow the economy overall," he said.
Obama held a second fundraiser in the Los Angeles area at the home of actress Melanie Griffith and actor Antonio Banderas. Tickets for the roughly 200 guests started at $5,000 a head.
At a fundraiser in Las Vegas, nearly 300 people paid between $1,000 and $35,800 to hear Democratic president draw a contrast between himself and the Republicans running to replace him in next year's election.
"The Republicans in Congress and the Republican candidates for president have made their agenda very clear," Obama said.
"They have two basic economic principles: first, tax cuts for the very wealthiest and the biggest corporations...Second is just about every regulation that's out there they want to get rid of -- clean air, clean water -- you name it."
Republicans charge that Obama's administration has instituted too many regulations that strangle businesses and hurt the economy. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination, has pledged to repeal Obama's healthcare reform law if he prevails over Obama in 2012.
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