Obama nets big bucks in Puget Sound fundraisers

SEATTLE -- President Barack Obama left Seattle Wednesday morning, a day after attending a pair of Eastside fundraisers that added millions to his re-election campaign.

Air Force One took off from Boeing Field at 9:39 a.m., bound for New Orleans.

The trip wasn't about courting voters as much as it is about raising money. Washington won't be ground zero in the race for the White House, but political analyst Ron Dotzauer said the state is turning into a cash register for politicians.

"Washington state, interestingly enough, has become a very fertile state for fundraising," he said.

Dotzauer said GOP candidate Mitt Romney has raised roughly $2 million in Washington. Impressive, but not when compared to the $6 million raised by Obama, and that's not counting what the president pulled in on Tuesday.

State GOP chair Kirby Wilbur doesn't want to get sidetracked by all the talk about money.

"I think people get really concerned about the role of money," Wilbur said. "I don't think it's as important as people think.

The president was in the Eastside Tuesday night for two sizable fundraisers, with both events held at the Hunt's Point home of former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal. In brief remarks Tuesday evening, the president praised Sinegal and Costco, which he called "the story of what America is all about."

The first event was roundtable with around 25 people, and the second was a dinner for nearly 200. The roundtable cost roughly $35,000 per attendee.

The money comes at a critical turning point for the re-election effort. The Associated Press reported that Romney actually outraised the Obama campaign over the last two months, but a recent count by ABC News shows Obama still has a nearly 10-1 advantage of cash on hand.

Despite his recent inroads, Wilbur admits Romney could use a financial boost out west.

"I'm sure he'd like to come back to Washington state and see if he can get into the treasure trove of money here in the state again," he said.

Watch raw video of President Obama's arrival: