Obama, Romney hobnob for cash at fundraisers
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With economic turmoil unsettling the 2012 U.S. presidential race, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney spent Monday tending to their own campaign wallets, mingling with big-money donors on the East and West Coast.
Obama was attending three fundraisers in New York City, including an appearance on a Broadway stage with former president and fellow Democrat Bill Clinton, who last week seemed to muddle the Obama campaign's criticism of Romney's work as a private equity executive by praising Romney's business record.
Romney was scheduled at a private fundraiser in Portland, Oregon, before heading to raise money in Seattle, Washington. Both states are widely seen as sure wins for Obama in the November 6 election.
Romney's Portland visit is his third for a fundraiser this campaign season. Romney also will attend a fundraiser tonight at private residence near Seattle, a campaign official said.
In April, Obama and the Democrats saw their fundraising advantage over Romney narrow, as the former Massachusetts governor and the Republican National Committee raised $40.1 million. Obama and the Democratic National Committee pulled in $43.6 million, a decline from their March fundraising total.
As a sitting president, Obama is expected to continue to out-raise Romney, but Democrats remain leery of outside conservative groups that could nullify that advantage by spending hundreds of millions of dollars attacking Obama's record by Election Day.
In New York, Obama was due to appear at the home of hedge fund manager Marc Lasry, a sign that the president is continuing to court donations from Wall Street even as he accuses Romney of being an insensitive job-killer when he worked as a corporate takeover specialist. Tickets to the event were $40,000 each.
Obama then will address a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel, and will end the evening at the New Amsterdam Theatre alongside Clinton and Broadway veterans including Patti LuPone and James Earl Jones.
Republicans have attacked Obama's coziness with the Hollywood and New York elite. The Romney campaign and the Republican National Committee pounced Friday when Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of the fashion magazine Vogue, released a video inviting donors to buy raffle tickets for a chance to win a seat at an Obama fundraising dinner at the New York home of actress Sarah Jessica Parker.
This weekend, Parker, the "Sex and the City" actress, starred in the Obama campaign's first national television ad, aired during Sunday's MTV Music Awards.
The Republican National Committee released a video mocking Obama's famous friends and implicitly reminded voters about Friday's bleak jobs report that showed the economy added 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year.
"Obama's focused on keeping his job," the Republican ad said. "But what about yours?"
Later this week, Obama will fly to Los Angeles for a fundraising dinner with gay and lesbian supporters. The evening will include a performance by the singer Pink.
Romney also is trading celebrity for campaign cash. The Republican is offering donors a chance to join Romney and "Celebrity Apprentice" host and property mogul Donald Trump for an upcoming dinner.
(Editing by David Lindsey and David Storey)
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