Reconnecting to a state critical to his reelection, President Barack Obama on Thursday rounded up about $2.5 million in Miami for the Democratic Party and tried to mollify critics in both parties about plans to scale back — but not scrap — a space exploration program out of Cape Canaveral.
Obama's fourth trip to the nation's largest swing state in less than 16 months included a speech near the Kennedy Space Center historic launch pads that sent men to the moon, a more casual fundraiser at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami and a cocktail reception hosted by Gloria and Emilio Estefan.
The Estefans' fundraiser was assailed by some Cuban-American exiles who say the president is not tough enough on the communist regime.
At the downtown rally of more than 1,000 people, the president got a standing ovation when he mentioned the new healthcare law and Tuesday's special election of Democrat Ted Deutch to Congress in a Broward-Palm Beach district.
"If you listen to the Republicans, they were warning over and over again this would be a referendum on health care, this would be a referendum on the [economic] recovery act, this would be a referendum on Obama," the president said. "And it was!"
Nationwide, Obama has been tapping Democratic donors invigorated by health care reform, though polls show the law is viewed unfavorably by most Florida voters and has been blasted by Republicans gunning for a comeback in the 2010 election.
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