ByÂ KEN THOMAS Associated Press
HOUSTONâ€”Raising campaign cash in Republican territory, President Barack Obama on Friday hailed a rebounding economy and accused Republicans of banking on voters having “amnesia” about the steps that led to a brutal economic collapse.
“The recovery is accelerating. America is coming back,” Obama told 600 supporters at a Texas fundraiser.
Bidding for re-election, Obama bounded between a rally-style event in a sprawling Rolls-Royce manufacturing plant south of Richmond, Va., to a pair of Houston fundraisers. Framing the trip: a new monthly jobs report showing employers 227,000 jobs in February, the latest sign that the economy is headed in the right direction.
Every month’s jobs report is seen as a barometer of the economy and an important factor in the presidential race. The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent, the result of more Americans looking for work as job growth takes hold month by month.
The jobs report and split loyalties among Republican voters assessing Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP field give Obama’s team renewed confidence that the path he has forged could help him win re-election and rebuild the economy. But privately, his advisers know that outside factors in the United States and abroadâ€”from high gasoline prices to instability in the Middle Eastâ€”could still derail his political and economic ambitions in the months leading to the fall election.
Pointing at Republicans, Obama said: “They think you have amnesia. They think you’ve forgotten how we got into this mess.”
He spoke at Union Station at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, with tickets starting at $500 per person.
Both in Houston and on the factory floor in Virginia, the president cautioned that too many Americans still long for work. But he said the nation’s economy had made progress because of difficult decisions he made, including rescuing U.S. automakers.
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