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7 books on presidential campaigns

‘Troubling.” That was Mitt Romney’s judgment, from the sparky second debate, on the fact that President Obama held a fund-raiser in Vegas the day after ambassador Chris Stevens was killed in Libya. The implication? That this was unseemly. That it wasn’t the time to pick politics over command, that there was “symbolic significance.” And then our coolest of presidents heated up: “The suggestion that anybody in my team . . . would play politics or mislead when we’ve lost four of our own, governor, is offensive,” he said. “That’s not what we do. That’s not what I do as president.”

As their temperatures rose, I thought Romney had messed up; a challenger can look callow second-guessing the terrible responsibility of the office. Then again, Obama ducked the truth that he did, indeed, attend the fund-raiser. It’s said that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but it shouldn’t this time because there’s a deeper story here: Obama has done more fund-raising than any incumbent in history. He’s held 220-plus events since April 2011, when he announced his bid for re-election, more than twice as many as George W. Bush (86 events in his first term).

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