By Diana Rocco and Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — President Barack Obama raised hundreds of thousands of dollars at fundraisers at the Franklin Institute on Tuesday evening, and his focus was putting Americans back to work.
Facing the statute of Benjamin Franklin, President Obama told the crowd of more than 500 supporters that his focus will be on growing the economy through innovation.
“That’s why I’m running for President. We are not going backwards….I want us to rebuild our roads, our bridges, our airports, I want us to build broadband lines and high speed rails,” the President said.
He also mentioned cutting the deficit in a responsible way.
“We are not going to allow another millionaire’s tax cut to result in cuts in basic research and science and cuts in head start programs.”
The President spent time at three different fundraisers at the Franklin Institute. First, at a roundtable for 25 high flyers who paid $40,000 each for the opportunity, and then, at a reception for 500, with tickets starting at $250. Finally, he attended a dinner, where each attendee paid at least $10,000 for a spot.
“It was worth it, it was absolutely worth it,” said Lacennes Fordham, who attended the reception.
“The Republicans are back to making the rich richer and forgetting about the middle class. I think it’s important that we all have a shared sacrifice in this,” another attendee, Carl Peridier, said.
Mayor Michael Nutter and Congressman Chaka Fattah were among the local dignitaries that attended the event.
Additionally, the President addressed 130 newly graduated high school seniors from The Science Leadership Academy shortly after arriving on Airforce One and spoke to them about their future and the importance of math and technology.
Those students spoke exclusively to Eyewitness News, saying they were both inspired and a little star struck. Most admitted that they’ll be voting for Obama come November.
“It made me feel like I actually mean something. We all have a legit job to do,” said Antoine Smith.
“I really liked how he emphasized education,” said another student.
This all comes as a Quinnipiac Poll released on Tuesday showed Obama leading rival Mitt Romney by six points in Pennsylvania, which is still considered a swing state but which hasn’t voted Republican since George Bush Senior.
According to the poll, the President is doing well with women and Independents, which is giving him the advantage.