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Obama keeps his distance from the campaign trail

NEW YORK — President Barack Obama opened a weeklong fundraising spree for his party Tuesday, telling high-dollar donors in New York and Connecticut that Democrats have facts and history on their side. Yet there still were no signs that Obama planned to take that message directly to voters by appearing on the campaign trail with his party's candidates.

Even while he raises money in private homes from coast to coast, Obama's public campaign schedule is getting off to a late start. Although the White House says Obama will start appearing with candidates as early as next week, no events have been announced.

Obama's absence from the campaign trail, less than a month out from Election Day, underscores the limits to Obama's ability to help his party in the midterms, his own political baggage a potential liability for Democrats who campaign with him publicly.

"I'm profoundly optimistic about America. I need you to be also," Obama told Democratic donors. "And then I need you to express your optimism not just by voting yourselves, but by getting involved."

Obama's fundraising jaunt kicked off Tuesday in New York with a pair of fundraisers for the Democratic Party.

Obama accused Republicans of wanting to limit America's prosperity to those at the top while obstructing his efforts to raise wages, improve education and fix immigration laws. He said Democrats would prevail if they were able to persuade enough of their voters to show up at the polls on Election Day.

"The good news is the American people are on our side," Obama said.

Then he hopped aboard Marine One for the short flight to Greenwich, Conn., to raise money for Senate Democrats in his third fundraiser of the day.

Obama's fundraising appearances began a week of events intended to shore up the party committees working to keep the Senate in Democratic hands, limit GOP gains in the House and pick up as many governor's seats as possible. On Thursday, Obama opens a three-day fundraising swing through California.