Obama Returns to Fundraising Circuit

The president could put his ‘charm offensive’ at risk if the anti-GOP rhetoric becomes too harsh.

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President Obama's commitment to work cooperatively with Republicans will be tested this week as he hits the campaign trail for two days of fundraising in California.

If he lashes out at the GOP in order to collect cash from partisan audiences, he will risk alienating congressional Republicans whose votes he needs for legislation to cut the deficit, overhaul immigration laws and impose more controls on gun sales.

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Obama is scheduled to visit the San Francisco area Wednesday and Thursday to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee. One event will be a $32,500-per-person dinner hosted by wealthy donors Ann and Gordon Getty, Democratic officials say.

Obama's objective is to keep Democrats in control of the Senate and help them take control of the House in the midterm elections of 2014.

His hard-nosed campaign agenda runs counter to his recent "charm offensive" that emphasizes making nice with the GOP. Obama is scheduled to have a private dinner with a dozen Republicans senators next week. Last month, he held a similar dinner with Senate Republicans and met separately with GOP and Democratic members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill.

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday that Obama wants "bipartisan progress" but at the same time, "He's going to be raising money to try to elect people who he believes share his agenda and his priorities. I think that's consistent with actions taken by past presidents – I know it is."

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  • Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes the daily blog "Ken Walsh's Washington" for usnews.com, and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at kwalsh@usnews.com, and followed on Facebook and Twitter.