State GOP criticizes Obama's fundraising visit

Hours before President Barack Obama was expected to appear in Maryland for a handful of fundraisers today, state Republicans cast his visit as an attempt to rally a base that they argued has been diminished by Democratic policies.

"If this was four years ago, he'd be filling the convention center," said David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, noting that Obama's second and larger fundraiser of the day will take place instead in an Inner Harbor hotel.

The event is a fundraiser, not a rally. Fundraisers usually draw smaller crowds.

State GOP leaders also repeatedly sought to tie Obama's policies to those of Gov. Martin O'Malley, noting tax increases approved by the Maryland General Assembly during the recent special session that was called to close the state's budget gap.

"They just don't seem to understand basic economics," said Louis Pope, the state's national GOP committeeman.

The president is expected to arrive shortly after noon for a fundraiser in Owings Mills at the home of an area developer. Ticket prices for that event will range from $10,000 to $50,000. Obama will then appear at a fundraiser at the Hyatt Regency, where tickets will run from $250 to $10,000.

Republican Mitt Romney's campaign will also have a presence in the state today. The candidate's wife, Ann, will be in Linthicum for a private fundraiser.