Obama returns to Chicago for 50th birthday, fundraising campaign

13:59, August 04, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama Wednesday returned to his hometown Chicago to celebrate his upcoming 50th birthday and raise funds for his 2012 re-election bid.

The president, who turns 50 on Thursday, made a speech before thousands of supporters, talking about U.S. economic situation as well as the debt ceiling fight.

"We're not even halfway there yet, we knew this was going to take time. Because we've got this big, messy tough democracy," Obama said, "I hope we can avoid another self-inflicted wound like we saw over the last couple weeks."

The president also called on his supporters to take actions, saying that people working as teams can better get out his re-election message. "It starts now," he said.

"I'm glad to pay 200 dollars for this event," an attendee told Xinhua before the president showed up, "He (Obama) is intelligent and gets us united."

After his speech to the crowd, Obama retired to the much more exclusive fundraiser event, where, about 100 people paid to attend the dinner at the cost of 35,800 U.S. dollars per person.

Obama's Chicago trip also marks the president's first money-raising effort in weeks as Washington was struggling with a partisan dispute over raising the nation's debt ceiling and deficit cutting.

Along with those events, Obama's presidential campaign is holding more than 1,100 "house parties" across the country to serve as birthday parties and organizational meetings for the elections. As has been the practice, the money raised will be divided between Obama's re-election fund and the Democratic National Committee.

As much as 86 million dollars have been collected for Obama's 2012 re-election by the end of the second quarter, which far outnumbered the amounts raised by his Republican opponents.

In the face of the event, about four dozen people protested against the aggressive deportation policies and they said the Obama administration has pursued against illegal immigrants. Besides, some anti-war protestors held "Stop the Wars" board to express their dissatisfactions.

The president is scheduled to leave Chicago on Air Force One late Wednesday night.



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