SAN ANTONIO - Greeting a crowd of donors with "Hello San Antone," President Obama revved up Democrats in the traditionally red state by telling them he sees shades of purple in Texas that might ultimately turn blue down the line.
"The next four months, you guys won't see them, because, you know, you're not considered one of the battleground states, although that's going to be changing soon In the next four months," Obama said of negative ads at a fundraising luncheon at a downtown convention center here.
"There is going to be more money spent than we've ever seen before, folks writing $10 million checks to try to beat me, running ads with scary voices and basically one message," he said. "I mean, it's a very simple message, you know. Their message is the economy is not where it needs to be and it's Obama's fault… There will be variations on the theme, but it will be the same message over and over and over again. That's what they're banking on, because they can't sell their actual economic plan. So their goal is to see if they can knock us down."
Obama's Texas fundraising swing, which is expected to net more than $4 million for his re-election effort, according to campaign officials, is squeezed in between campaign trips to two battleground states - Ohio on Monday and Florida at the end of the week.
Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic presidential candidate to win Texas, in 1976. In 2008, then-candidate Obama lost Texas to Republican Sen. John McCain by nearly 12 points.
But while Republican candidates tend to fare better in the Texas polls, the Lone Star state money race between Obama and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney is nearly dead even, with Romney taking in only $120 more in Texas than Obama, according to an analysis of FEC filings done by ABC station KTRK-TV in Houston. Texans have given more than $7.4 million to each of the candidates.
Obama said the differences between himself and Romney, pointing to their differences on handling healthcare, ending the Bush tax cuts, and keeping jobs in America, an issue the Obama campaign has repeatedly raised as they attempt to tie Romney to the outsourcing of jobs at Bain Capital.
"His main calling card for wanting to be president is his private sector experience, so we ask the voters to examine that experience," Obama said. "He invested, made money investing in companies that have been called pioneers of outsourcing. I don't want pioneers of outsourcing in the White House. I want somebody who believes in in-sourcing. Let's bring those jobs back home. That's why I'm running for a second term as president of the United States."
The president spoke to a crowd of approximately 1,200 people, who paid at least $250 to attend the event, at a fundraiser in downtown San Antonio. He then headed to a private fundraiser where attendees paid $38,500 a person to hear the president speak. Obama will fly to Austin for two additional fundraisers this evening - one priced at $250 a person and the second at $25,000 per couple.
The four Texas events today bring Obama's fundraiser total to 112 this year, setting a new record of 182 total re-election fundraisers attended by the president in his first term.
A trio of national co-chairs for Obama for America gave remarks at the fundraiser - Rep. Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, and actress Eva Longoria, who Obama described as "just a great friend and a great advocate, and a really good actress."
"Latinos aren't sitting back in 2012 … we're working hard for @BarackObama. In San Antonio w/ supporters now!" Longoria tweeted before the fundraiser.