Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Obama raises US$53 million, Romney says pack your bags'

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama basked in a US$53 million monthly fundraising bonanza Monday, but Republican Mitt Romney warned him to "start packing" and get ready to leave the White House.

Two new polls meanwhile offered conflicting pictures of the emerging race to November's general election -- with one suggesting Romney had nosed ahead, while another showed Democratic incumbent Obama with a solid lead.

Obama, who is rebuilding his national political machine to battle Romney, the all but certain Republican nominee, attracted 190,000 new donors in March and an average donation of 50 dollars in his US$53 million total.

"We are all going to have to dig even deeper, work even harder, move even faster -- it's going to take all of us working together," said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.

Obama has now raised over US$200 million for his re-election bid and for the Democratic National Committee and up until the end of February, he had spent US$75 million, much of it on his new grassroots infrastructure.

Romney had raised nearly US$75 million by the end of February, but has spent US$66 million on his long Republican primary campaign, leaving him at a significant organizational disadvantage as the general election dawns.

The Republican has not yet announced his haul for March, but accelerating the pace of fundraising and building a national organization to rival Obama's are now priorities for his campaign.

Romney took a new swipe at the president on Monday, as he tries to defy Obama campaign efforts to cast him in a negative light at this early stage of the general election joust.

"Start packing," Romney said with a chuckle in an interview with ABC News.

"The president -- I'm sure -- wants another four years. But the first years didn't go so well," Romney said, slamming Obama's record on job creation and the gaping budget deficit and saying he guided America in the wrong direction.

Romney sat side-by-side with his wife, Ann, whom the campaign is increasingly employing to introduce her husband; he is often criticized as purportedly less able to relate to voters, and to a wider American public.

"I believe it's Mitt's time. I believe that the country -- needs the kind of leadership that he -- is going to be able to offer," mother of five Romney, who lives with multiple sclerosis and survived breast cancer, said.

Ann Romney emerged as a key figure in the campaign last week, after Democratic consultant Hilary Rosen ignited a firestorm by saying on CNN the multi-millionaire candidate's wife had "never worked a day in her life".

In a new sign that election season is approaching, the Gallup polling organization on Monday debuted their daily tracking poll of the Obama-Romney matchup -- and there was good news for the former Massachusetts governor.

Romney led Obama by 47 per cent to 45 per cent despite trailing the president, who is seeking a second term, in a number of recent surveys.

But a senior Obama administration official dismissed the methodology of the Gallup poll, arguing that the survey frequently showed unrealistic lurches in support that did not reflect genuine voter sentiment.

A CNN survey meanwhile showed Obama up nine points on Romney, 52 per cent to 43 per cent and found that Obama led Romney among women -- shaping up as a vital voting bloc in November by 55 per cent to 39 per cent.

The Obama official admitted however that though the White House was confident of victory in November, the race would be close, as America is a politically divided nation.

The Republican National Committee meanwhile Monday launched a new assault on Obama's economic record, with a new web ad accusing the president of transitioning from "Hope to Hypocrisy".

"For three years, President Obama has been promising a better economy and said he would be held responsible for the outcome," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.

"But, when he realized his failed economic policies weren't working, he decided to blame everyone but himself."

- AFP/wm

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Source From Channel News Asia

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