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Obama praises economy, raises funds in Houston

HOUSTON -- Raising campaign cash in GOP territory, President Barack Obama hailed a rebounding economy Friday and accused Republicans of banking on voters having "amnesia" about the steps that led to a brutal economic collapse.

"The recovery is accelerating. America is coming back," Obama told 600 supporters at a Texas fundraiser.

Bidding for re-election, Obama bounded between a rally-style event in a sprawling Rolls-Royce plant south of Richmond, Va., to a pair of Houston fundraisers.

Framing the trip: a new monthly jobs report showing that employers added 227,000 jobs in February, the latest sign that the economy is headed in the right direction.

The jobs report and split loyalties among Republican voters assessing Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and the rest of the GOP field give Obama's team renewed confidence that the path he has forged could help him win re-election and rebuild the economy.

But privately, his advisers know that outside factors in the U.S. and abroad -- from high gasoline prices to instability in the Middle East -- could still derail his political and economic ambitions in the months leading to the fall election. Pointing at Republicans, Obama said: "They think you have amnesia. They think you've forgotten how we got into this mess."

He spoke at Union Station at Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros, with tickets starting at $500 a person.

Defending his healthcare law, Obama said preventive care for women was now covered, including "checkups, mammograms, birth control."

"We fought for this because the top doctors and medical experts in the country said this kind of preventive care saves women's lives," he said, arguing that it also saves money.

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