Oregon Public Broadcasting

President Barack Obama returned to Oregon Tuesday for a brief campaign fundraising swing.

When candidate Obama swept through Oregon in 2008, a huge crowd packed Portland's waterfront for a sunny rally that became one of the memorable images of that year's campaign.

But the closed fundraiser at the Oregon Convention Center was different kind of affair.

The President told supporters at the Oregon Convention Center, he hasn't forgotten about the dazzling day four years ago when some 70,000 people turned out to hear his message.

"It was a day just like today. it was as pretty as can be. There were people kayaking and in boats. It was just beautiful," Obama said.

Even as he invoked the past, Obama urged the crowd at the fundraiser to think of the future. He called this his last political campaign. Through three years of economic hardship, health care reform, and foreign wars, Obama says his administration has remained focused on job creation.

He characterized his contest with Republican Mitt Romney as a clash between two differing world-views. Top down economics, as he put it, versus a bottom-up approach.

"This country was not built front he top down. It was built from the bottom up. It was built because incredible self-reliance and risk-taking was rewarded. And because we invested in great schools and great universities, and put rules of the road in place to make sure everyone was being treated fairly. That's how we became the most prosperous nation on earth and that's why I'm running for a second term as President of the United States."

The President thanked Governor John Kitzhaber and former Governor Barbara Roberts for attending. Portland Mayor Sam Adams and Secretary of State Kate Brown were there too.

The audience gave Obama the biggest cheers when he mentioned the health care reform laws passed under his watch, and called for the the domestic production of wind turbines and other green power machinery.

But the crowd also cheered him on foreign affairs and his promise to care for the troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Because nobody who fought for American should have to fight for a job, or a roof over their heads when they come home."

Just before the fundraiser, the President stopped at an east-side restaurant, the Gateway Breakfast House, to chat with a small group of veterans about health care and other concerns. The vets who sat at the roundtable was selected by the campaign.

It was the closest thing to a public event during Obama's five-hour visit.

The ballroom fundraiser seemed removed from Portland's sunny waterfront four years ago. But Obama urged supporters to channel the same energy that motivated them in 2008, to move beyond the ballroom's walls, and power the remaining months of this year's campaign.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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