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Obama invokes Mandela, Gandhi in appeal for second term

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March, 1, 2012: President Obama speaks at a fundraiser in New York City. (AP)

President Obama invoked the legacies of Nelson Mandela and Gandhi while appealing to donors for help in seeking a second term, arguing that he needs "time" to achieve true change just like they did. 

The president, at a campaign fundraiser in New York City Thursday night, cast his candidacy for reelection in historical terms. In doing so, he drew an implicit comparison between his aspirations and the achievements of the legendary independence leaders in South Africa and India

"The civil rights movement was hard. Winning the vote for women was hard. Making sure that workers had some basic protections was hard," Obama said. "Around the world, Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, what they did was hard. It takes time. It takes more than a single term. It takes more than a single president. It takes more than a single individual." 

He said citizens need to "keep believing" and fighting for those beliefs. 

"And I said in 2008 that I am not a perfect man and I will not be a perfect president. But I promised you ... back then that I would always tell you what I believe. I would always tell you where I stood," Obama said. 

The president has been engaged in somewhat of a fundraising frenzy lately, having held roughly 100 events this election cycle. That's twice as many held by former President George W. Bush at this point in his 2004 reelection battle, and more than three times former President Bill Clinton's total in the 1996 cycle. 

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said he's not sure whether Obama is starting earlier than past presidents. "He's just more successful at it than some of his predecessors," he said.