Before a boisterous crowd spread out on a grassy field next to the town square, Romney tried to capitalize on his momentum from his widely praised debate performance Wednesday.
“We had a little debate earlier this week, and I enjoyed myself,” he said, adding that President Obama has been making excuses for his own performance ever since. “Now of course, days later, we’re hearing his excuses, and next January, we’ll be watching him leave the White House for the last time,” Romney said.
He also expressed confidence that he would capture this critical state and its 29 electoral votes, saying to loud cheers, “We’re going to win in Florida, and we’re going to take back the White House.’’
After his 20-minute speech, Romney walked across the street to the Tin Fish restaurant, where the owner said he and his wife, Ann, were picking up grilled fish and chicken. The cash register was adorned with two Romney-Ryan stickers, and the Republican elephant symbol dangled from strings just behind the counter.
Meanwhile, Obama had no public appearances Sunday but held two fundraisers in Los Angeles.
Addressing a raucous crowd at the Nokia Theatre, Obama continued in the same combative voice he has employed since last week’s debate, also offering a bit of self-deprecating reflection on a performance widely described as listless and uninspired. Praising the night’s musical acts, including Stevie Wonder and Katy Perry, he said: “These guys perform flawlessly night after night. I can’t always say the same.”
Later, Obama acknowledged — without offering specifics — that he and his administration had made missteps.
“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We goofed up. I goofed up. But the American people carried us forward.”
Obama continued to assail Romney’s tax plan as one that would increase the deficit by $5 trillion. He also ridiculed one of the specific cuts Romney offered at the debate, eliminating funding for PBS.
“Don’t worry — someone is finally cracking down on Big Bird,” he said. “Elmo has made a run for the border.”
Obama began his evening with a small group of longtime donors at the home of entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, where Obama was joined by former president Bill Clinton. His campaign called the gathering a “thank-you event.”
The president wrapped up his night at Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 restaurant, on the 24th floor of the Ritz-Carlton hotel in downtown Los Angeles. With 150 people expected at a cost of $25,000 per person, that event alone could have raised $3.75 million.
Obama’s fundraising efforts were a topic on the Sunday political talk shows. On Saturday, the campaign announced it had raised $181 million in September, a near-record haul that pushed the overall total for the campaign to nearly $1 billion.