President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the question for next year's presidential race isn't whether the country has been going through a difficult time, but is more like where will the country go next.
Campaigning in Florida, a state he won in 2008, Obama said voters can choose to go back to ideas _ Republican ideas _ that have been tried and that have failed or they can work toward an America where everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share.
He said the question isn't whether people are still hurting, because too many still are, or whether the U.S. has been going through tough times.
"The question is where are we going next? What does the future hold?" Obama said at a campaign fundraiser in downtown Orlando, Fla., with 450 donors who paid anywhere from $25 to $35,800 to attend.
"We can either go back to the ideas that were tried and failed in the last decade, where corporations write their own rules, the well-connected get tax breaks slipped into the tax code and ordinary folks struggle, or we can build the America we talked about in 2008 and that we've been fighting for ever since, an America where everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share, an America where we're all in it together and we're looking out for one another."
At a second fundraiser in the Orlando suburb of Lake Mary, held at the sprawling home of personal injury attorney John Morgan, Obama touched briefly on his jobs package that the Senate had defeated hours earlier. Republicans oppose Obama's call for more government spending and a tax surcharge on millionaires to help pay for the plan. Obama decried the GOP opposition, saying people are willing to do a little bit more to help the next generation prosper.
"What we need is not a `no we can't' attitude. We need a `yes we can' attitude," Obama told 300 supporters gathered around an outdoor swimming pool after paying a minimum of $1,500 per ticket. He spoke as eight Republicans who are vying for the chance to run against him next year squared off in a New Hampshire debate focused on the poorly performing economy. Obama has said the economy has turned him into a campaign underdog.
Obama won Florida by nearly 3 percentage points in 2008 and the state is crucial to his re-election hopes.
In Lake Mary, where basketball stars Grant Hill, Doc Rivers and Vince Carter were among the guests, Obama joked that he had come to resolve the NBA lockout.
"We need our basketball," the president said.