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President Obama embarks on 3-day campaign tour

January 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
President Obama is on a three-day, five-state campaign trip this week, and started out by pitching his new energy agenda in Las Vegas on Thursday.

"Today, I'm announcing that my administration will soon open up around 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for additional exploration and development," he said.

The president is also using the trip to court the important Hispanic vote in Nevada, Colorado and Arizona.

The issue of immigration is important to Latino voters, and it's something the president and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer strongly disagree on.

A photo captured a tense encounter between the two Wednesday, with Brewer pointing her finger at Obama moments after he touched down at the airport in Phoenix. Brewer later told reporters the president was critical of her new book, which describes her views on immigration.

"I wanted to be there to welcome him to come and see firsthand what Arizona has done in regards to our economic recovery," Brewer said in a press conference. "He wanted to talk about the book, and I thought he was pretty thin skinned."

The White House said the president was objecting to Brewer's description of a meeting the two had in Washington, describing the meeting as a lecture from the president. The White House said it was a cordial meeting.

Meanwhile in Florida, the GOP presidential frontrunners are campaigning hard as the race there grows even tighter.

Just days before Tuesday's primary, Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney are in a dead heat, and it appears Gingrich is turning up the heat on Romney.

"We're not going to beat Obama with some guy who has Swiss bank accounts, Cayman Island bank accounts, while he tries to think the rest of us are too stupid to put the dots together to understand what this is all about," said Gingrich.

Romney didn't mention his chief rival by name Thursday, but his message was clear.

"I'm not part of the culture of Washington, D.C.," he said. "I spent my life out of Washington, D.C."

President Obama is planning a west coast trip to attend another star-studded fundraiser for his campaign. The Hollywood Reporter said a $35,000 per person dinner for Obama will be held February 15 at the Holmby Hills estate of soap opera producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen. Actor Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca, are among the co-sponsors.