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Barack Obama stumps for jobs bill, raises cash during Orlando stop

President Barack Obama dropped into Orlando on Tuesday to raise money for his re-election campaign and took a detour to an Irish bar to pitch his jobs bill to jobless construction workers.

But as the president collected checks and engaged in stagecraft, Senate Republicans and a pair of Democrats facing their own re-elections battles were voting to kill the $447 billion jobs package.

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio joined in blocking the bill while Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson was in the minority. The measure will now likely be split up in an attempt to get some of it passed.

The economy is dragging on Obama's approval rating and 2012 prospects, and he has been busily building his campaign coffers.

The first of two fundraisers was at a Sheraton hotel in Orlando. It drew 400 people who paid between $44 and $250 apiece.

"I'm going to need you to help us finish what we started in 2008," Obama said at the end of a speech that touched on accomplishments (health care reform, the auto bailout, the killing of Osama bin Laden) but also acknowledged the economic challenges.

"We're Americans," Obama said. "We're tougher than the times we're living in and we're sure a lot better than the politics we've been seeing."

The second fundraiser was in nearby Lake Mary, at the mega-home of lawyer John Morgan, whose firm employs former Gov. Charlie Crist. A Democratic official said 100 people were expected and tickets started at $1,500.

Between fundraisers, Obama sat down with four unemployed construction workers at Harp and Celt Restaurant & Irish Pub in Orlando.

Officers hurt: Two law-enforcement officers escorting Obama's motorcade collided on motorcycles in Seminole County, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Neither is thought to have been seriously hurt.

Barack Obama stumps for jobs bill, raises cash during Orlando stop 10/11/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 12, 2011 12:31am]
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