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Obama gets green-carpet treatment in Boston, as dollars roll in

The president raked in at least $3 million for his reelection bid during a trip to Boston on Monday. Though Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, Obama leads him there in fundraising and in the polls.

By Mike EckelContributor / June 26, 2012

Standing under the massive pipe organ at Boston's Symphony Hall, President Barack Obama addresses supporters during a campaign fundraiser on Monday, June 25, 2012.

Stephan Savoia/AP

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Boston

No, that wasn’t a rock concert rattling the rafters and raising the roof at Boston’s august Symphony Hall.

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Nor was it a religious revival shaking the 112-year-old hall’s gilded balconies and snarling the city’s already notorious rush-hour traffic.

It was merely Barack Obama storming through town Monday evening to rake in some cash for his reelection campaign and to bask in a rapturous reception from supporters and donors, deep-pocketed and not.

The president’s star quality may have dimmed since 2008, but it hadn’t among the adoring 1,800 people who ponied up between $250 to $2,500 to see the Democratic incumbent offer up grist on Republicans, taxes, immigration, job creation, and even a barb on the Red Sox that got what sounded like boos. (This is sports-mad Boston, don’t forget.)

On a day when the US Supreme Court offered a mixed bag of fraught judicial opinions, the thunderous ovations and millions of dollars he pulled in gave affirmation that for now Mr. Obama doesn’t have much to worry about in the blue-state Bay State.

“The debate in this election is not whether we have more work to do. Of course, the economy is not what it needs to be. Of course, there are too many folks still struggling. Of course, things should be better. These challenges were built up over years. They weren’t created overnight. They won’t be solved overnight,” he said.

“But the big thing is with this election is how do we grow the economy back together? How do we create more jobs? Moving forward, how do we find more opportunities? How do we pay down our debt? How do we reclaim that basic bargain that makes America the greatest nation on Earth? How do we do it?” he asked.

Both Obama and his likely Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have raised substantial amounts of money in the state, though neither has spent much time campaigning here. Obama has netted more than $7.7 million in contributions this election cycle, as of the end of May, according to federal campaign filings. Monday's visit brought in at least $3 million more. By contrast, Romney has collected nearly $4.9 million in direct contributions from state residents. 

Monday’s visit most likely will be Obama’s last before November. Polls show Obama with a solid lead over Romney here.

So while stumping votes wasn’t the priority during the one-day visit, stumping for dollars was. The Symphony Hall event was bracketed by an even more elite pair of gathering in the Boston area: one at a posh bistro in the city’s swanky South End with 25 supporters who reportedly paid $40,000 each to attend, and later on, a fundraising dinner with 100 people at a private home in one of the state’s wealthiest towns. Tickets reportedly cost $17,900 per person and $35,800 per couple.

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