The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 7, 2012

Romney shows softer side; Obama raising more cash

(Continued)

Obama was setting out Sunday to collect more campaign cash over two days in California. The state is safely in Obama's column but drawing his attention because it is rich with Democratic donors.

In what will be his final fundraising trip out West this election, Obama's celebrity friends — from actors to singers to chefs — will come out in force to help him get others to donate. Obama was expected to raise several million dollars.

Such a dedicated focus on fundraising this late in the campaign underscores the central role of money in swaying votes, particularly in television advertising in the eight to nine states that will decide the outcome.

On Sunday, Obama was holding two fundraisers in Los Angeles. He is also appearing at a small, elite gathering at the home of entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, where Obama will be joined by former President Bill Clinton. His campaign calls the gathering a "thank you event" for longtime donors.

Obama's main event will be his remarks at a star-studded concert at the Nokia Theatre, marking exactly 30 days until the election. Actor George Clooney and musical guests Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi and Katy Perry will entertain the crowd.

The president will wrap up his night at Wolfgang Puck's WP24 restaurant, high above the L.A. skyline in the Ritz-Carlton hotel. With 150 people expected at a cost of $25,000 per person, that event alone will raise $3.75 million.

Obama's trip, in total, will be three days, covering fundraisers in San Francisco and a rally in Columbus, Ohio, the state at the center of both campaign's efforts.

The only official presidential business on the trip comes Monday in Keene, Calif., where Obama will designate as a national monument the home of Latino leader Cesar Chavez, who died in 1993. Yet even that move has political implications. It is an appeal to Hispanic voters, who supported Obama by a 2-to-1 margin in 2008 and favor him by a similar margin over Romney, polling shows.

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