SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - President Obama departed the Bay Area aboard Air Force One shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday, completing his fundraising and economic consensus building mission after a breakfast event at the St. Regis Hotel in San Francisco.
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Obama's fundraising efforts include four money raising events Thursday—the San Francisco breakfast, followed by three events in Los Angeles. In between, Obama will squeeze in a town hall meeting in Reno aimed at selling his plan for cutting deficit spending directly to a skeptical public.
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"The deficit is real, our debt is real. We've got to do something about it. But how we do it is going to make a huge difference," Obama said during a smaller, high-dollar fundraiser Wednesday night in San Francisco.
The president and Republicans have both offered plans for bringing down the deficit, but vast differences exist over how to do so. The president is calling for $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 12 years, through a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes on the wealthy, while House Republicans have passed a plan that would reduce the deficit by nearly $6 trillion in a decade, in part by overhauling Medicare and Medicaid.
The president and Republicans have accused each other of pitching "radical" plans.
Obama pitched his debt-reduction plan at a town hall gathering Wednesday at the headquarters of Facebook in Palo Alto, before holding a pair of big money fundraisers in San Francisco.
During a raucous fundraiser focused on young people in San Francisco Wednesday night, Obama said his supporters are not alone in their frustration at the gridlock in Washington, where each side has labeled the other as "radical."
"There are times when I've felt the same way you do. It's a big, complicated, messy democracy," he said. "We knew this wouldn't be easy."
Obama's three-day West Coast swing—his most extensive travel since announcing his re-election bid—offered a glimpse of how Obama will seek to re-energize the independents and first-time voters who carried him to victory in 2008. Obama argues that more work must be done to make the vision of Americahe promised a reality, and that he is the only one who can see those hopes through.
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