President seeks to raise funds on celebrity-studded trip west
Following his election-debate bruising at the hands of Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama is today scheduled to launch a celebrity-packed and lucrative fundraising trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Mr Obama's two-day trek will be followed by a campaign rally in ever-important Ohio on Tuesday. He spent yesterday celebrating the 20th wedding anniversary he had put aside because it fell on the day of the debate.
Republican presidential candidate Mr Romney charged ahead with his economic arguments in spite of unemployment dropping to its lowest level since Mr Obama took office. With Vice President Joe Biden and Romney running mate Paul Ryan forgoing public events ahead of their own debate on Thursday, Mr Romney had the stage to himself yesterday for a campaign event near Orlando, Florida.
Mr Romney was said to have spent part of the day preparing for his next debate with Mr Obama, scheduled for October 16 in Hempstead, New York.
Mr Romney all but ignored the latest positive jobs numbers while campaigning on Friday night in Florida, instead highlighting his strong debate performance and presenting a more compassionate message as he sought to overcome Mr Obama's narrow lead in the polls.
He made clear earlier in the day that he did not agree with the president's assessment that the unemployment statistic -- it dipped from 8.1 per cent to 7.8 per cent in September -- is a sign of an economy heading in the right direction. "By any rational measure, it's crystal clear we're in the middle of a jobs crisis," Mr Romney said.
"My priority is jobs. And from day one of my presidency, I will lead us out of this crisis."
Mr Obama said the creation of 114,000 jobs in September, coupled with the drop in unemployment, was "a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now."
Jabbing at his rival's plans, the president said: "We've made too much progress to return to the policies that caused this crisis."
Widely regarded as having lost the debate on Wednesday night, Mr Obama came out with more energy and a retooled response in rallies in Colorado, Wisconsin and Ohio over the last few days.
Because the presidential race is decided in state-by-state votes rather than by popular vote, such states that do not reliably vote either Republican or Democratic will probably decide the race.