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Obama pushes education spending in Denver visit

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 5:04 PM EDT, Tue September 27, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Obama touts the virtues of his job growth plan during a stop in Denver
  • Obama focuses on the importance of new education investments
  • Obama raised as much as $7.5 million for campaign, DNC and others during his 3-day trip
  • Polls show Obama may be facing a tough re-election campaign in 2012

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama wrapped up a three-day trip to the western part of the country Tuesday with a visit to the political swing state of Colorado, where he renewed the push for his $447 billion economic growth plan and ripped congressional Republicans for opposing higher taxes on the wealthy.

The president focused on the $25 billion education component of the plan, which administration officials say would allow for the reconstruction and modernization of 35,000 public schools.

"Every child deserves a great school -- and we can give it to them," Obama told an enthusiastic crowd at a Denver high school. "My question to Congress is: What on Earth are we waiting for? ... Let's pass this jobs bill and put teachers back in the classroom where they belong."

On taxes, Obama sought to turn the table on his GOP critics, who have accused the administration of engaging in destructive "class warfare" politics.

"You know what? If asking a millionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber makes me ... a warrior for the working class, I'll accept that. I'll wear that charge as a badge of honor," Obama declared. "The only warfare I've seen is the battle that's been waged against middle class families for a decade now."

Obama's visit to Colorado -- a state he carried in 2008 by 9 percentage points -- followed fundraising and other campaign-style stops in California and Washington state.

Obama's trip help raise at least $7.5 million for his re-election campaign, the Democratic National Committee and related political causes, according to one Democratic campaign official.

While the president has revved his campaign machine, there are growing indications that he will face tough political headwinds in 2012 due largely to the weak economy.

A USA Today/Gallup poll released Wednesday found that 53% of Americans blame Obama a great deal or a moderate amount for the continued economic sluggishness. The survey of 1,004 adults had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The previous week, a CNN/ORC International poll showed that Obama had a disapproval rating of 55%, the highest of his presidency, mirroring other national polling from Gallup and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

CNN's Lesa Jansen and Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

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