June 21st, 2011
07:24 AM ET
President Obama was all smiles at two fundraising events Monday night in Washington - one included supporters of a strong U.S.-Israel relationship while the other was attended by dozens of big donors from the Mid-Atlantic region.
At the two events, which come days before the pivotal second fundraising quarter comes to a close, Obama made a strong pitch for his handling of the economy – a preview of the stump speech he will deliver when the 2012 campaign begins in full.
“We were able to take an economy that was shrinking by about 6 percent and create an economy that is now growing, and has grown steadily now over many consecutive quarters. Over the last 15 months we’ve created over 2.1 million private sector jobs,” Obama told the crowd of Mid-Atlantic donors.
Obama added he is “extraordinarily proud of the economic record that we were able to produce over the first two and a half years,” but quickly noted “the economy is still so tough for so many people around the country.”
“The hole that was dug was so deep…the reason that 2012 is important is because I did not just run for President to get us back to where we were; I ran for President originally to move us to where we need to be,” the president also said in a clear salvo to Republican presidential opponents, seven of which hammered him over the economy at a CNN debate one week ago.
Tickets for the two dinners ranged from $10,000 to the legal maximum limit of $35,800. The money raised from the events will go to the Obama Victory Fund, with the proceeds being shared by both the president's re-election campaign and the DNC.
Obama also has two fundraisers later this week in New York. His presidential campaign is hoping to begin the election season with a bang and report a $60 million haul by the end of the quarter.
– CNN’s Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report