Trailing Republican challengerÂ Mitt RomneyÂ in raising money over the past two months, Obama appeared at four fundraisers in San Antonio and Austin, where his campaign expected to collect as much as $4Â million and surpass his previous single-day Texas record.
The haul comes at a critical time: Obamaâ€™s campaign has been alarmed byÂ Romneyâ€™s recent fundraising surge. In June, for example, Romney raised $106Â million, compared with Obamaâ€™s $71Â million.
It was the seventh time Obama has raised money in the Lone Star State since he took office and the second time this year. The home of Obamaâ€™s Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, as well as would-be GOP challenger Gov. Rick Perry, Texas has been surprisingly fruitful territory for the president.
Obama has raised $15.7Â million in Texas, the fifth-highest total from any state, trailing only California ($64 million), New York ($41Â million), Illinois ($18 million) and Florida ($17 million). Texas is the only one of those states that Obama did not win in 2008, and the only reliably Republican one.
Romney has raised $24 million from Texas for his campaign and the Republican National Committee, racking up $3.5 million at a recent luncheon appearance in San Antonio.
The president sandwiched the Texas stops between visits to crucial battleground states:Ohio on MondayÂ and Florida on Thursday and Friday. At his first stop in San Antonio, a convention center luncheon of 1,200 supporters, many of them Latino, he began to warn the crowd about a spate of negative television ads before realizing that his audience might not see many of them on the local airwaves.
â€œYouâ€™re not considered one of those battleground states,â€ Obama said. Then he declared: â€œBut thatâ€™s going to change,â€ drawing cheers.
That might not happen for a while, though.
Upon touching down in Texas, Obama was reminded that the state could be hostile territory. He was greeted by news reports that Perry was demanding an apology for comments by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. about the stateâ€™s voter identification law. Holder called the law a â€œpoll taxâ€ and equated it to Jim Crow-era requirements.
But Obama got a rousing reception from his Democratic audiences. He also spoke to a group of gay and lesbian activists in Austin and held more intimate, high-dollar events at the homes of Mikal Watts, a San Antonio trial lawyer, and former Dell finance chief Tom Meredith, who lives in Austin.