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President Obama arrives in LA for star-studded fundraiser concert

President Barack Obama speaks during a fundraising event at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012.
October 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama arrived in Southern California Sunday afternoon for a fundraising concert in downtown Los Angeles.

Air Force One touched down at Los Angeles International Airport at about 1:15 p.m. Immediately after arriving, the president headed to an intimate gathering with about 12 elite, longtime donors at the home of entertainment mogul and DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg in Beverly Hills - among those in attendance was former President Bill Clinton.

From there, he headed to the main event: A star-studded concert at the Nokia Theatre with entertainment by actor George Clooney and musical guests Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi and Katy Perry.

During his speech, the president poked fun at his own underwhelming debate performance, marveling at how his friends in the entertainment business could turn in flawless showings every time.

"I can't always say the same," Mr. Obama told thousands of supporters, who got the joke right away. It was the president's most direct acknowledgment that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, won their debate Wednesday.

Mr. Obama told about 6,000 of his supporters in attendance that he had bad days and made mistakes in the 2008 campaign, too, but nobody remembers that because he won.

"We goofed up. I goofed up," he said of 2008. "But the American people carried us forward."

After his appearance there, the president headed to Wolfgang Puck's WP24 in the Ritz-Carlton hotel, where he hosted a $25,000-per-person event for about 150 supporters.

After trailing Romney in the money race for most of the summer, Mr. Obama was back on top and pulled out all the stops to keep his lead. In what was his final fundraising trip out West this election, Mr. Obama enlisted Hollywood's heavy-hitters to donate to his campaign and encourage their fans to do the same.

Mr. Obama was expected to spend the night on the Westside and leave Los Angeles at 9 a.m. Monday, after designating the home of Cesar Chavez a national monument. The founder of the United Farm Workers of America died in 1993.

The president's overnight stay on the Westside is likely to make the Morning commute worse than usual. Although specific details about the president's routes are not available for security purposes, it is expected that his motorcade will impact Avenue of the Stars between Santa Monica and Pico boulevards between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday.

The president will also be attending a fundraiser in San Francisco, and then flying to Ohio on Tuesday, the battleground state's final day to register to vote.

The president has been on a record-setting fundraising roll. The Obama campaign reports that combined with the Democratic Party, it raised a whopping $181 million in September - more money than any presidential campaign has ever raised in a single month.

The Romney campaign has yet to release its September tally, but Republicans are downplaying the president's financial advantage. The party's national chairman Reince Priebus said he had been counting all along on being outraised by the Democrats.

Romney and the president began running new ads on Sunday with each side accusing the other of distorting his position on taxes during last week's debate. The two will face-off in debates two more times before the Nov. 6 election.

Meantime, Romney spoke during a rally in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Sunday afternoon, trying to woo undecided voters. Campaign organizers hope to see a surge both in supporters and fundraising after his strong performance during the first presidential debate.

Romney told Sunday's crowd that he's ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work for the American people.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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