AUSTIN (KXAN) - President Barack Obama came to Austin on Tuesday to defend his first term in the White House and to draw a distinction with his likely Republican opponent in the coming fall campaign.
"I am absolutely convinced that we are on (the right) path," the president told a crowd in the Austin Musical Hall late in the afternoon. "We are not going backwards."
Austin was the second city Obama visited on his one-day trip to Texas. Earlier in the day, he was in San Antonio where he offered a full-throated defense of his first-term policies.
He boasted of enacting a health care law, winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and ending discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"It was the right thing to do," Obama said he said to punctuate his points.
As they did in San Antonio, the crowd who contributed to his campaign as a ticket of admission chanted "Four more years."
Also on Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry made clear that the Democratic president would not get a free ride from the Republicans who dominate Texas politics.
"He's enriching his political treasure chest with Texas money that was created by an economic climate he seems to have a hard time understanding," Perry told reporters before the president arrived in Austin.
Later, when Air Force One landed at Austin Bergstrom International Airport just before 4 p.m., Obama bounded down the steps of the jet where he was greeted by Mayor Lee Leffingwell, City Councilman Mike Martinez, Police Chief Art Acevedo and City Manager Marc Ott.
He jogged over to a crowd of waiting well-wishers where he shook hands, made what appeared to be small talk and high-fived a youngster. By 4:15, he was in the presidential limo on his way to the first of two fund-raising events.
The president came to Texas -- as state the national Democratic ticket has not carried since 1976 -- to raise money for the fall campaign against presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. But he laid out themes he's been taking around the country in his bid for a second term.
He did not back down from his controversial and sometimes unpopular health care law, which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. And he made clear that he would use the mission to kill 9-11 mastermind Osama bin Laden as a political asset.
"I promised to go after bin Laden -- we got him," Obama said .
During both of his Texas appearances, Obama continued the Democrats' assault on Romney's record in business, but he did not directly mention the former Massachusetts association Bain Capital, the private equity firm he started and ran.
Obama called his Republican rival an "outsourcing pioneer," an allusion to reports that Bain companies were shipping U.S
"I want bottom-up economics," Obama said. "When we do that, everybody does better -- those at the bottom, those in the middle, those at the top."
The Austin Music Center fundraiser was hosted by the LGBT Leadership Council. And Obama was quick to highlight his decision to end the ban on openly gay military service members.
"We ended 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and I want to make sure it stays ended," he said.
Tickets for the event, which featured singer/songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker, range in price from $250 per person to $7,500 per couple.
A second capital city event hosted by Tom Meredith -- Dell's former finance chief -- will be held later in the evening at Mededith's Four Seasons residence where couples can get in for $25,000.
During his visit, his campaign hopes to best his Republican rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney -- who raised $106 million last month, compared to Obama's $71 million.
Perry, meanwhile, acted as something of a surrogate for the likely GOP nominee.
"Perhaps while the president is visiting Texas, he can take a break from big-dollar fundraisers to disavow his attorney general's offensive and incendiary comments regarding our common-sense voter identification law."
Obama, who has made numerous visits to Austin since he launched his first bid for president in 2007, acknowledged that he has little chance of carrying in Texas in November. He said in the context of what he expects to be a bruising campaign that will be played out through strategic high-dollar media buys.
Most Texans, he said, won't see them.
"You're not considered one of the battleground states," he said -- and then added : "That's going to change soon."
The University of Texas Board of Regents adjourned Thursday without taking action on the job status of embattled UT President Bill Powers.
Longhorns coach Mack Brown talked with reporters Thursday for the first time since reports surfaced this week that he could be stepping down.
Google brings its new wearable computer to Austin this from Saturday, Dec.14 to Sunday, Dec. 15.
Despite what seemed like a surge of controversies, the Austin Aquarium opened its doors to members Thursday for a private pre-entry showing.
Michael Dell spoke to thousands of customers and partners at the third Dell World conference Thursday at the Austin Convention Center.
Austin police are still looking for a teen wanted on murder charges in the 2011 stabbing death of a 13-year-old boy.