Obama Raises Money as Campaign Responds to Romney Attacks

President Barack Obama raised money from supporters in the Pacific Northwest today as he and his campaign organization fired back at Republican Mitt Romney’s attacks.

Obama, on a three-day swing through five states, plans to collect at least $6.3 million in California, Oregon and Washington, more than half of it today at four fundraisers in Portland, Oregon, and a Seattle, Washington, suburb.

In Portland, Obama criticized Romney and “his allies” in the Senate for plans tomorrow to block an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for those with incomes of less than $250,000. Obama wants those cuts to expire for people with incomes above that amount after Dec. 31.

“Republicans have decided they’re not going to let this bill pass,” affecting 98 percent of Americans, Obama said. “They’ve decided to hold middle-class tax cuts hostage. We tried this. It didn’t work. It’s not what most Americans, regardless of party, believe what will grow the economy.”

The Democrat’s campaign also released a television ad in six swing states aimed at rebutting Romney’s accusation that Obama is hostile to business.

Out of Context

“We are not going to stand by while Romney slices and dices, deliberately takes out of context the president remarks on businesses,” Jen Psaki, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, told reporters on Air Force One as the president traveled to Oregon.

With voters focused on the economy, Romney has been spotlighting a remark Obama made in a July 13 speech that, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” The president had just referred to what he called “this unbelievable American system” that, through tax dollars, provides school teachers and roads and bridges.

Obama responded directly yesterday in Oakland, California.

“Governor Romney was at it again -- knowingly twisting my words around to suggest that I don’t value small businesses,” Obama said. “The other side knows they can’t sell their ideas so what they’re going to do is try to distort my vision.”

At his later appearance in Portland, Obama said Romney has been “splicing and dicing” whole sentences to distort the president’s meaning.

The latest campaign video, set for broadcast in Iowa, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Nevada and Virginia, has Obama looking directly into the camera and saying that ads “taking my words about small business out of context, they’re flat out wrong.”

Two Fundraisers

Obama wraps up his trip with two fundraisers tomorrow in New Orleans and an address to the National Urban League, one of the nation’s largest civil rights organizations.

The group, preparing for the Nov. 6 elections, said in a study July 17 that a decline in the African-­American voter turnout in 2012 could tip the presidential election outcome in the critical swing states of North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.

“In 2012, if the African-American voter turnout rate in every state declines to 60 percent, which was the national voter turnout rate for African-Americans in 2004, then we estimate: President Barack Obama will not win in North Carolina,” said the study by Madura Wijewardena and Varlie Wilson of the National Urban League Policy Institute in Washington.

The study said the turnout rate for black voters in 2008 was 64.7 percent, the highest it has been for any national election as Obama became the first black elected president.

Justice Agreement

Obama’s address to the Urban League in New Orleans follows an announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder today of a consent decree aimed at forcing reforms of the city’s police department, which has been under scrutiny for corruption and mismanagement for decades.

The agreement requires the New Orleans department to develop new policies and procedures, including on the use of force, interrogations and arrest and overhaul training.

A Justice Department review last year, requested by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, found the New Orleans police engaged in a pattern of “unconstitutional conduct,” including use of excessive force by officers and illegal searches and arrests.

New Orleans officers practiced racial and ethnic profiling, discriminated against gays and lesbians and repeatedly failed to investigate sexual assault and domestic violence reports, according to the Justice Department.

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