Prez targets Mitt, as do GOP rivals

Posted: January 12, 2012

PRESIDENT OBAMA scooped up hometown campaign cash yesterday and promised supporters that change can still come if they work even harder this time around.

Coming the day after former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's convincing win in New Hampshire's GOP primary, which established him as the clear front-runner to take on the president in the fall, Obama's visit to Chicago was all about summoning his backers' enthusiasm for the fight ahead.

"If you're willing to work even harder in this election than you did in the last election, I promise you, change will come," Obama said at the first of three evening fundraisers, a large event at the University of Illinois.

Obama's team has castigated Romney at every turn as a political opportunist willing to alter his views - on abortion, the environment and gay marriage - to serve his political purpose.

Obama's campaign had hauled in more than $150 million through September, but Democrats say they will need to compete with Republican-leaning outside groups that can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to back specific candidates.

For his part, Romney swept into South Carolina yesterday in pursuit of a confirming victory in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, buoyed by bulging campaign coffers and warm words from the state's pre-eminent practitioner of tea-party politics.

Running out of time, his GOP rivals showed no sign of surrender.

Newt Gingrich welcomed Romney into the first Southern primary state with a fresh attack on his business career and a new television ad painting him as a flip-flopper on abortion. Said former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, "South Carolina is going to be different. It is wide open for anyone."

Texas Gov. Rick Perry drawled his way through a busy campaign day, displaying a Southern attribute that Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, could not hope to match.

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