ERICA WERNER,Associated Press
LOS ANGELES (AP) — President Barack Obama is heading to Denver to pitch his jobs plan in the city where he accepted the Democratic nomination. But as he's acknowledged at fundraisers up and down the West Coast, this election isn't like 2008.
Obama told a star-studded Hollywood fundraiser Monday night that this time around people are weary, and the energy of 2008 — when he was an exciting new face — is going to have to be generated in a different way.
He urged guests, including actors Eva Longoria, Danny DeVito and Jack Black, not to get tired now. "This is when we're tested," he said.
Obama has held seven fundraisers over two days in Washington state and California in advance of an important fundraising deadline. Tuesday in Denver, he will tour a high school and then speak about the $450 billion jobs plan, mixing tax credits and public works spending, that he wants Congress to pass.
The president is expected to focus Tuesday on a proposal in the bill that would allocate $25 billion in new spending to repair and modernize public schools. The White House said Colorado's share of the funding could total $265 million and would support up to 3,400 jobs.
With the economy stuck and unemployment high as the 2012 campaign heats up, Obama has been reminding supporters that he never told them governing would be easy. He's also getting in some shots at the GOP presidential field.
"I urge all of you to watch some of these Republican debates. It's a different vision about who we are, who we stand for," Obama told about 120 Hollywood supporters at Los Angeles' Fig & Olive restaurant. Guests paid $17,900 each to attend.
The American people want a "bold and generous" vision of America, Obama said, not the "cramped" one he said the Republicans are offering. "That's what this election is about. It's about values, it's about character, it's about who we are."
Republicans have panned Obama's West Coast swing, criticizing the president for being more interested in saving his own job than creating new jobs for Americans. And Republican National Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said Obama was "treating the West Coast as an ATM for his campaign coffers as he makes his way toward the first billion-dollar campaign."