President Obama’s first visit to Massachusetts this year, for a series of fund-raisers around Boston on Monday, comes during a challenging time for his reelection campaign.
Republican Mitt Romney outraised him for the first time during the month of May. Super PACs supporting the former Massachusetts governor are taking in vastly more than those boosting Obama. And the president’s attacks on Romney’s private equity career at Bain Capital have drawn condemnation from some prominent Democrats.
Against that backdrop, though, the president is returning to a reliably Democratic state just before the end of the second fund-raising quarter, seeking to top off his campaign kitty.
Meanwhile, top Obama strategists told reporters in Washington last week that their focus on Bain has opened eyes among critical middle-class voting blocs. And they say the campaign’s support among minorities, including a growing Hispanic population, surpasses that for the Republicans.
The president himself has shifted to full campaign mode, ratcheting up his rhetoric as he makes appearances across the country.
His latest came Friday in Tampa, scene of the Republican National Convention later this summer.
It previewed the remarks Obama will probably deliver Monday at Symphony Hall, and at a pair of smaller fund-raisers at Hamersley’s Bistro in the South End and the Weston home of Douglas and Judi Krupp, the brother and sister-in-law of Obama campaign bundler George Krupp.
“They figure that if we simply eliminate regulations and cut taxes by trillions of dollars, then the market will solve all of our problems,” Obama said of Romney and the Republican Party.
“We don’t need more top-down economics. What we need is some middle class-out economics, some bottom-up economics. We need a plan for better education and for better training, for energy independence, for innovation, for infrastructure that can rebuild America,” Obama added.
If that speech sounds familiar, it echoes the notes Governor Deval Patrick struck as he won reelection in 2010. He shares a political adviser, David Axelrod, with the president.
Patrick will be among those at Symphony Hall, and at the Krupp house in Weston.
President to camp in Boston
The president has proven to be a night owl with all his campaigning and fund-raising, returning to Washington sometimes as late as 1:30 a.m. after evening appearances in another city.
Not Monday, though.
Obama will spend the night in Boston after his fund-raisers, before jetting off Tuesday for more campaign events in Atlanta and Miami.
Aides say the overnight is not to allow debate prep with Senator John Kerry, who is playing the role of Romney for practice sessions, or for some other campaign purpose.
They say it’s purely for logistical reasons.
The ongoing debate debate
In the Scott Brown-Elizabeth Warren debate over debates, pretty much everyone came out a winner.
Warren got any challenger’s dream: four televised debates, providing the opportunity to get a wide audience for her candidacy. She will also be among the speakers during the president’s visit to Symphony Hall.
For his part, Brown stifled Victoria Reggie Kennedy’s proposal to host a debate under the auspices of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The senator asked her to withhold an endorsement in the race if she wanted him to participate, which Kennedy refused. That allowed Brown to reject the invitation.
More importantly for his campaign, he avoided an event that would only have perpetuated the Kennedy connection to the seat Brown now holds.
The sole remaining issue is two radio debate invitations that Brown has accepted but Warren has yet to answer.
One is set for Wednesday night on WBZ-AM. Brown says he will be there, with or without Warren. The other is for an unspecified future date on WTKK-FM.
Warren is withholding her decision as she tries to pressure Brown into accepting a fifth televised debate, in Worcester. After agreeing to debates in Eastern and Western Massachusetts, the Democrat says she wants to ensure that every region of the state is being treated equitably.
But in the debate debate, Brown has shown far more flexibility.
The Republican has agreed to the four TV debates that Warren initially wanted, even as she has yet to agree to the radio debates.
Perhaps Warren is trying to fight the good fight on behalf of Worcester, seeking to shame Brown into accepting or embarrass him if he refuses.
But she also risks looking unaccommodating, after achieving her initial goal.
Glen Johnson is lead blogger for Political Intelligence, available
online at www.boston.com/
politics. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.