At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America.
“The one thing that we absolutely know for sure is that if we don’t work even harder than we did in 2008, then we’re going to have a government that tells the American people, ‘you are on your own,’” Obama told a crowd of 200 donors over lunch at the W Hotel.
“If you get sick, you’re on your own. If you can’t afford college, you’re on your own. If you don’t like that some corporation is polluting your air or the air that your child breathes, then you’re on your own,” he said. “That’s not the America I believe in. It’s not the America you believe in.”
Obama and Democrats have been emphasizing what they see as the costly consequences of the Republicans’ agenda in an effort to stir up support, in part by touching on emotional nerves.
Last week, Obama supporters pounced on comments by Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney that the solution to the nation’s housing crisis is “don’t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom.”
Today, Obama cast Republicans’ hands-off approach as harmful to middle class families, who he says deserve government help.
“I reject an argument that says we’ve got to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from exploiting people who are sick,” Obama said. “And I reject the idea that somehow if we strip away collective bargaining rights, that we’ll be somehow better off.
“We should not be in a race to the bottom where we take pride in having the cheapest labor and the most polluted air and the least protected consumers,” he said.
Obama’s pitch to donors has increasingly sought to raise the stakes for the 2012 race, and the interruptions of resounding applause and handsome fundraising hauls show his message is striking a chord.
The San Francisco event was Obama’s eighth in California in the past month, a sign of the Golden State’s continued importance in his bid for a second term.
Obama has already raised more than $9 million from California donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In 2008, California topped the list of states doling out cash to Obama, totaling more than $77 million for his campaign.
While Obama’s approval has sagged in California, as with the rest of the country — dipping to 46 percent in a recent Field Poll — he remains personally popular across the state. Forty-nine percent of voters say they are inclined to endorse a second Obama term, five points higher than those who said they were not inclined.