'I Don’t Believe in Coming in Second,' Obama Tells Bon Jovi Fundraiser

NEWARK, N.J. -- Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., hit a couple swanky Garden State fundraisers this evening, starting at the house of Democratic National Committee treasurer Phil Murphy and his wife Tammy.

“Are you guys fired up?” bellowed Gov. Jon Corzine to the $2,300-per-person crowd. “You better be, because I think you’re liquored up!”

Obama again said that the GOP convention didn’t discuss solutions to problems facing ordinary Americans, unlike the Democratic gathering.

“The Republicans had a different approach to their convention,” he said. “They had a different theory, which was that ‘We are just sarcastic. We spent a lot of time talking about John McCain’s admittedly compelling biography, and we spent a lot of time lying about Barack’ -- that, somehow that’s a political philosophy or an economic theory.”

Obama told the appreciative crowd, “They don’t have a record to run on, so what they’re going to do is they’re going to try and just tear me down. Because it worked four years ago, and it worked eight years ago, you can’t blame them for trying it again, but I don’t think it’s going to work this time.”

Next stop: the manse of Jon and Dorothea Bon Jovi, or “The House That 'Young Guns II' Built.”

“You don’t have to be 72 to have experience,” said the host as he introduced Obama. “It’s the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. This 21st century man has an aura of hope wrapped around him.”

Obama told the $30,800-per-person attendees -– the money goes to a joint Obama campaign-DNC fund -- that he hoped they were “up for a fight.”

“I hope you guys are game,” he said, “because I haven’t been putting up with 19 months of airplanes and hotel food and missing my babies and my wife –- I didn’t put up for that stuff just to come in second. I don’t believe in coming in second. The American people can’t afford for us to come in second. We’ve got to win this thing and we’re going to win it with your help.”

Obama said that the assignment of his Republican opponents is “to see if they can snuff out that spirit in this campaign and to knock me down more than one peg,” he said. “The reason that events like this are so important, we’ve got to have the resources and the energy and the determination to say ‘No’ to that. To say 'enough.' We’re not going to be bullied, we’re not going to be smeared, we’re not going to be lied about. We’re not going to resort to the same tactics, but we are going to confront them.”

Curiously -- "Livin' On a Prayer," perhaps? -- Obama suggested that Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., possibly doesn’t even approve of the campaign he is waging.

“I think some of you saw this week the strategy of the other side,” Obama said. “A strategy that, I’d be willing to venture, that if you asked John McCain, ‘Is this the kind of campaign he intended,' he might have said, 'No.'”

- jpt

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