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Obama praises John McCain as he sharpens rhetoric against GOP

At campaign fund-raisers and rallies, President Obama is contrasting the Republicans of today with John McCain and others in the GOP who were more willing to work in bipartisan fashion.

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“Change is the first bill I signed into law – a law that says a woman deserves an equal day’s pay for an equal day’s work. That’s the kind of change we believed in,” Obama said, building to a crescendo as he highlighted other “change” moments – the rescue of the auto industry, raising fuel-efficiency standards, and student-loan reform.

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“And, yes, Maine, change is the health-care reform that we passed after a century of trying – (applause) – because we believe that in America, in this great country of ours, nobody should go bankrupt just because they get sick,” Obama said.

In all four of his fundraising events Friday, the president did not mention the historic three days of Supreme Court argument on health reform earlier in the week – or predictions that some or all of the law could be struck down.

But former Sen. George Mitchell (D) of Maine, who served the Obama White House as a special Middle East envoy, didn’t shy away from the topic in his warm-up remarks to the crowd at Southern Maine Community College.

“The Supreme Court should stay out of politics,” former Senator Mitchell said.

Friday’s four fundraisers came as the first quarter of 2012 was drawing to a close, and the campaign sought to post the largest numbers possible. And while Vermont and Maine are both seen as firmly in the Obama column for November, there is money to be tapped. Tickets for the high-dollar event in Burlington started at $7,500 and in Portland, at $5,000. At the larger events in both cities, there were some student/activist tickets for $44; general admission started at $100 per person, the campaign said.

Also on Friday, first lady Michelle Obama headlined a fundraiser before about 350 people at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. In her remarks, she steered clear of attacking the Republicans and instead talked about her husband’s accomplishments and the stakes in 2012. Like her husband, she urged the young people present to get involved.

“You can get out there with your parents,” Mrs. Obama said. “You guys can knock on doors. “ 

Vice President Biden also got into the campaigning act this past week, but unlike his boss, he went after the Republican candidates extensively – and by name – fulfilling the typical role of running mate as attack dog.

“Look, folks, conventional wisdom that manufacturing is dead in this country is dead wrong – dead wrong – and we’ve got to maintain this momentum,” Mr. Biden said Wednesday in remarks at PCT Engineering in Davenport, Iowa. “But if you’ll forgive me for saying this, one thing that could bring this momentum to a screeching halt is turning over the keys of the White House to [Rick] Santorum or [Mitt] Romney.” 

Mitt Romney: top 5 attacks on President Obama

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