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Obama wants credit for cleaning up ‘big mess’

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President Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Miami on Monday night that he deserves credit for cleaning up the mess he inherited.

"My job over these first two years has frankly been to clean up a big mess," Mr. Obama said at a $10,000-per-ticket event at a gated mansion in Miami Beach.  "We were able to make sure we yanked an economy out of what could have been a second Great Depression."

The president spoke to guests on a tented lawn with a view of the Miami skyline at the $5.9 million home of former Samsonite CEO Steve Green, former ambassador to Singapore in the Clinton administration.

"We stabilized the financial system," the president said. "We made sure that we ended one war and started putting another war on a path where we could start bring more troops home. We restored a sense around the world of what American values and ideals were all about. We had to address an auto industry that was on the verge of liquidation. We had to get the economy moving again and we had to get jobs created again."

It was the second visit to a battleground state in the same day for Mr. Obama, whose reelection strategy depends in part on Florida and North Carolina. Earlier Monday, the president led a discussion about job creation in Durham, N.C.

The president held three fundraisers in south Florida Monday night. At a performing arts center, Mr. Obama urged supporters to recapture the spirit of his 2008 campaign.

"I didn't run for president just to be president," Mr. Obama said. "It was never about me. It was about us."

He asked for supporters' help in his fight with Republicans in Congress over prioritizing spending.

"I don't want a tax break if it means hundreds of kids can't go to Head Start," Mr. Obama said.

A man and woman at the arts center interrupted Mr. Obama's speech by standing up and yelling, "Keep your promise. Stop AIDS now." They were eventually drowned out by others in the crowd chanting "Obama."

Mr. Obama's Florida finance chairman, Kirk Wagar, told the audience at the arts center, "if we win Florida again, it's over."

"The president is worth it," Mr. Wagar said. "There is no Barack Obama without you. There is no health care without you."

Former Miami Heat player Alonzo Mourning, speaking before the president, referred to the Heat's loss in the NBA finals to the Dallas Mavericks.

"I know you're a little disappointed about the Heat," Mr. Mourning said. "Now it's time for us to redirect our attention to our new team — the Obama campaign."

On Tuesday, the president flies to Puerto Rico, fulfilling a promise he made while campaigning in the U.S. territory during the 2008 presidential primary. U.S. citizens of Puerto Rican ancestry living on the mainland make up influential constituencies in the swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania, both of which Mr. Obama won in 2008.

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