Obama campaigns against GOP 'madness'
Supporters shout "four more years" as US President Barack Obama speaks during a campaign event at the Southern Maine Community College in Portland, Maine, on March 30, 2012. Obama is on a day trip to Vermont and Maine to attend campaign events.
March 30th, 2012
06:27 PM ET

Obama campaigns against GOP 'madness'

Portland, Maine (CNN) – President Barack Obama wrapped up an afternoon fundraising swing through the northeast Friday, declaring his Republican opponents have a go-it-alone attitude that threatens to permanently stifle the country's middle class.

"They would gut things that we've always believed is at the core of making America great – education, science, caring for the most vulnerable." the president to chants of "four more years" in a packed Portland, Maine gymnasium. "They are wrong."

"The idea that you would keep doing the same thing over and over, even after it's proven not to work, that's the sign of madness," he also said of Republican-backed economic policies.

Obama listed the accomplishments his campaign intends to emphasize between now and November, including the bailout of the auto industry, equal pay for women, and drawing down the war in Iraq. The president also praised his most controversial action just days after it was contended before the Supreme Court, the institution of universal health care.

"Change is the health care reform act we passed after a century of trying," he said without noting it's in danger of being declared unconstitutional by the high court. "We believe that in America, nobody should go bankrupt just because they got sick."

Read the whole post over at the Political Ticker.

Topics: 2012 Election
The crowd loved him
President Barack Obama greets supporters during a campaign event at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont, on March 30, 2012. Obama is on a day trip to Vermont and Maine to attend campaign events.
March 30th, 2012
06:10 PM ET

The crowd loved him

It may have been a tough week for the president at the Supreme Court, but you wouldn't have known that Friday: thousands of students at the University of Vermont couldn't get enough of Obama during a campaign speech.

You knew things would go well for him when his opening comment: "I'm here..." was interrupted by applause. Huge cheers erupted when the president talked about withdrawing from Iraq, health care reform, and affordable education.

In a swipe at Republicans, the president said hard work is a value, but so is "looking out for one another...I'm my brother's keeper. I'm my sister's keeper. That's a value. " Wild applause.

U.S. Tightens Oil Sanctions on Iran
March 30th, 2012
02:58 PM ET

U.S. Tightens Oil Sanctions on Iran

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) - President Obama ratcheted up the pressure on Iran Friday, deciding to implement previously announced sanctions that will be the toughest to date.

The decision declares that world oil markets can be adequately supplied even if a significant portion of Iran's 2.2 million barrels a day in oil exports is taken off the table.

"There is a sufficient supply of petroleum and petroleum products from countries other than Iran to permit a significant reduction in the volume of petroleum and petroleum products purchased from Iran by or through foreign financial institutions," Obama said in a statement.

The sanctions, announced late last year, are aimed at getting Iran to give up its nuclear program - a program Iran says is for peaceful purposes but many suspect is intended to produce a bomb.

The decision was widely expected.

"It's hard to imagine the White House would have invited the political ramifications of stalling on Iran," said Kevin Book, managing director at ClearView Energy Partners. That could have been "devastating for key voter blocs in battleground states."

The sanctions target Iran's central bank, which the country uses to facilitate its oil trade. They subject any bank, company or government that does business with Iran's central bank to U.S. sanctions.

In effect, it forces people to choose between doing business with Iran and doing business with the United States.

The sanctions are slated to take full effect June 28, and a full embargo of Iranian oil from the European Union is set for July 1.

The sanctions had already begun ramping up, and analysts estimate Iranian's exports dropped by about 300,000 barrels a day over the last few months.

Read more over at CNN Money.

Topics: Gas prices • Iran • President Obama
Obama to Vermont and Maine for fundraisers
March 30th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

Obama to Vermont and Maine for fundraisers

(CNN) – President Barack Obama heads to Vermont and Maine Friday to help bring in campaign cash for his re-election bid.

The president will be the main attraction at two events in Vermont, one of the most Democratic states in the country, and at two more in Maine, a state then-presidential candidate Obama won by 18 points in the 2008 election.

The four events are the last fundraisers the president's scheduled to attend by Saturday, the last day of fundraising in the first quarter. The numbers are bound to be scrutinized by pundits and political operatives as the 2012 election heats up.

The Obama Victory Fund, which is shared by the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, brought in around $45 million in February.

Read more on the Ticker.