Obama raising campaign cash in Vermont, Maine

View photos
President Barack Obama greets supporters after speaking at a campaign fundraiser at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vt., Friday, March, 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Raising campaign cash in reliably Democratic Vermont, President Barack Obama on Friday called this year's presidential race a "clarifying election" that will determine what the country stands for.

Obama spoke at a $7,500-per-person luncheon fundraiser Friday, where he said the general election would be a "healthy debate for the nation." Obama said Republicans are peddling a "fundamentally different vision of America."

"It's a vision that says that America is about looking out for yourself, not for other people," Obama said. "It's an America that denies something like climate change, that rejects it, that takes a position on immigration that would have been unthinkable in either party just a few years ago."

Obama, shedding his jacket and rolling up his shirt sleeves, said the economy was getting stronger and businesses were beginning to feel more confident. He also offered a vigorous defense of his health care law, though without mentioning the Supreme Court case to determine the constitutionality of its main provision.

Obama said the health care overhaul that passed "after over a century of trying" would allow young people to emain on their parents' health insurance for a longer period, help seniors pay less for prescription drugs and keep millions of people from being denied coverage.

Taking a shot at his GOP rivals, Obama said President Abraham Lincoln "couldn't win the nomination" for the Republican Party right now.

Event organizers said Obama's stop in Vermont marked the first trip to the state by a sitting president since 1995.

Later Friday, Obama was to speak at a large fundraising rally on the campus of the University of Vermont. He was also attending two fundraisers in Portland, Maine.

Obama's four events are his last fundraisers before Saturday's monthly and quarterly campaign fundraising deadline. The president raised $45 million last month for his re-election.