SEATTLE, Sept. 25 (UPI) -- President Obama spent Sunday refilling his campaign war chest, traveling to Washington state and California to solicit donations from Democratic supporters.
In Seattle, Obama used some sports star power to bolster his fundraising efforts with retired NBA greats Bill Russell and Lenny Wilkens expressing their support for the president and his jobs bill while introducing him to the audience at Paramount Theater estimated by organizers at about 1,700 people who paid $100 apiece to his Obama Victory Fund.
The president urged the crowd to get involved in his 2012 campaign.
"I've come because I need you to help me finish what we started in 2008," he said.
"I need you guys to shake off any doldrums. I need you to decide right here and right now, talk to your friends and neighs and co-workers and tell them, 'You know what? We're not finished yet.'"
He plugged his legislation aimed at putting people to work rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and chided Republicans in Congress for opposing it.
"What happened? Republicans used to like roads," he said. "Some think they don't like roads because Democrats are proposing it."
At an earlier $35,800-a-head fundraiser at the Medina home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley that was attended by about 65 people, Obama said if he isn't re-elected next year, a Republican president would usher in "an approach to government that would fundamentally cripple America in meeting the challenges of the 21st century."
Obama acknowledged the campaign will be "especially hard because a lot of people are discouraged" but said he would "keep drawing a clear contrast" between his vision and that of the Republican Party.
"My hope when I came into office that was because we were in crisis that the other side would respond by saying now is the time for all of us to pull together," he said. "That was not the decision they made so from the moment I took office what we've seen is a constant ideological push back against any kind of sensible reforms that would make our economy work better and give people more opportunity.
"We're seeing it even now. As we speak there's a debate going on in Congress about whether disaster relief funding should be granted as part of the overall budget to keep the government open."
"What makes it worse is that some of the Republicans who are opposing this disaster relief it's their constituents who've been hit harder than anyone by these natural disasters.
"But we are going to keep drawing a clear contrast between a vision that we have for where we want to take this country ... with a vision that says somehow we've got to shrink our vision of what America is."
After his Seattle appearances, Obama left for San Jose, Calif.