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Mitt Romney takes swipe at California?

September 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
People leaving Republican Mitt Romney's private fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday night said they felt even more optimistic about his presidential bid after hearing his pitch first hand.

"Romney was more inspirational than I thought he would be," said Michael Libow of Beverly Hills. "He stayed on point, very articulate speaker, good energy."

From Beverly Hills to San Diego, Romney spent the day focused on fundraising in Southern California. After a rough week, he's working on getting his campaign back on track, targeting his rival for failing to fix Washington.

Romney, at his San Diego fundraiser, said President Barack Obama was "taking Americans on a course that is extremely foreign to us."

Romney even seemed to take a swipe at the Golden State.

"One would suggest that government knows better than free people," he said. "It's a pathway to become like Europe, and Europe doesn't work there. It's never going to work here. It's even possible we could be on a pathway to become California -- I don't want that either."

Romney later said his comment about California was a joke.

As Romney focuses on raising funds, President Obama is targeting key battleground states that may be up for grabs. The president made his first stop in Wisconsin since February. Romney has been there 17 times since then, and new polls show a tight race.

"The country doesn't succeed when only the folks at the very top are doing well," Mr. Obama said. "We succeed when the middle class is doing well."

Obama, speaking to an energized throng of 18,000 people in an at-times-rainy outdoor amphitheater, made a point of renewing his pledge to create a million manufacturing jobs as he campaigned in a state whose manufacturing industry has been hard hit in recent years.

The race is heating up with just six weeks left in the race and some form of early voting in all of the seven battleground states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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