Obama talks economy, health care in Portland

Obama talks economy, health care in Portland

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by KGW Staff

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kgw.com

Posted on July 24, 2012 at 9:05 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 25 at 8:44 AM

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PORTLAND -- President Barack Obama met with supporters and gave a speech at the Oregon Convention Center, as part of a planned fund-raising visit to Portland Tuesday.

Traffic alert: Closures for Obama's visit

He began his late afternoon speech by reminiscing about a past campaign rally in the Rose City.

"It’s wonderful to be back in Portland, one of the memories I love is the rally we had by the water four years ago, it was just as pretty as can be. There were people kayaking and in boats, you could see just as far as... it was just beautiful," he said, the crowd erupting in cheers and applause.

A main focus of his speech was health care reform, as well as the economy and jobs.

"We’ve been creating jobs for almost three years straight," Obama said. "We’ve made progress but we still have millions of people out of work and homes underwater, so we’ve got a lot more work to do."

He said he's fighting for re-election because he believes in the American dream.

"When I hear cynics suggest America’s best days are behind us, I tell them you haven’t witnessed the character of the American people," he said.

Fund-raising events

The President also held two fund-raising events in Portland in his three-day route bracketed by speeches to top veterans and civil rights groups. An invitation-only event gave just 25 people the chance to meet with the president, at a cost of $30,000 per person, according to campaign officials. The second event was lunch, where 950 people paid around $500 each to attend.

Along with supporters, protesters lined the streets outside the convention center. Many waved signs pushing for stricter gun laws in the wake of the mass shooting in Colorado.

More: Protesters push causes during Obama visit

"We don’t’ need any more semi-automatic weapons going off in movie theaters, no more magazines that carry 100 bullets," said protester Katie Pool with Cease Fire Oregon.

"We’re for Obama. This county is better off and its’ getting better than it was, better than it was when he took over," said supporter Reynolds Potter.

Proceeds from Tuesday's events will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fund-raising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.

Greeters met President at PDX

The President landed about 11:30 a.m. at the Oregon Air National Guard base at PDX and met with greeters, including his brother-in-law OSU basketball coach Craig Robinson, who gave him a hug.

Nearby, about 40 guests waited on the tarmac for their chance to shake hands with the President, including a young girl whose father is a secret service officer.

"I shook his hand and said 'welcome,'" she said. "It felt really cool because I got to see him in person."

Then, the President and his motorcade rolled out of the airport and made an unscheduled stop at the Gateway Breakfast House on 114th and NE Halsey Street. President Obama had a late breakfast there and spoke with some of the customers.

More: Obama visits NE Portland restaurant

President Obama's Portland visit is part of a three-day swing through Nevada, California, Oregon, Nevada and Louisiana.

Aides previously had announced plans for Obama to address the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on Monday and the National Urban League in New Orleans on Wednesday. Those are considered "official" events -- part of his presidential duties -- even though Obama has made a concerted effort to win over military votes this fall, and to maintain his record turnout among black voters.

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