Obama says he’s ‘got no patience’ for Democrats who are ‘not that excited about this election.’


April 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – President Obama spent Friday fundraising on behalf of Democrats in Los Angeles and San Francisco, working to bolster his party’s chances in the November elections even as he expressed concerned that some Democrats have become “complacent” after his two terms in office.

April 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO – President Obama spent Friday fundraising on behalf of Democrats in Los Angeles and San Francisco, working to bolster his party’s chances in the November elections even as he expressed concerned that some Democrats have become “complacent” after his two terms in office.

President Barack Obama speaks during a panel discussion in Washington on Feb. 25, 2016.

Obama headlined four high-dollar events in the two cities, with two events benefiting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and one each for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Each of them featured glamorous settings, including a tent with mood-lighting and blue drapery on the grounds of the home of Walt Disney Co. Chairman Andy Horn and his wife Cindy, and the elaborately-landscaped home of movie star and producer Tobey Maguire and his wife Jenny.

In each setting the crowds were enthusiastic, but the president also warned that simply supporting him wasn’t enough to safeguard his most significant policy achievements. Speaking at the Horns’ Thursday night — with Hollywood celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia-Louis Dreyfus and Julia Roberts seated a few feet away — Obama said they needed to shift their focus to a new mission.

“There are times where, as devoted as all of you are, when I'm traveling through Democratic circles I see, ‘Oh, Mr. President, we love you so, and we're going to miss you so. And sometimes I'm not that excited about this election,’ ” he said. “And I say, I have no patience for that.”

“I say thank you very much, first,” he said, prompting laughter from the group. “But then I say to folks, we cannot be complacent, and we cannot be cynical, because the stakes are too high. And we should take pride in what we've accomplished over the last seven-and-a-half years, not because every problem was fixed, but because it showed the steady progress that happens when people who love this country decide to change it. And that should be a spur, a call to action.”

Asked about his comments aboard Air Force One on Friday, White House Deputy Press Secretary Jen Friedman reflected the president’s longstanding belief that “it’s critical for Democrats to get out there and support Democratic candidates. … I don’t think he specifically said there was any lack of enthusiasm.”

Either way, the two-day California swing will generate needed cash for the party. Both the dinner at the Horns’ and the breakfast at the Maguires’ cost $33,400 per couple.

Obama has also used the trip to press the case for confirmation of his Supreme Court nominee, U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland. At his fundraiser in Los Angeles Thursday night, the president was sharply critical of Senate Republicans for not agreeing to schedule a hearing and a vote. If they held firm, he said, “the basic compact that we have in a big, diverse country like this, our ability to cooperate and find the solutions to the big challenges that we face, will deteriorate to such a point where it's going to be very difficult for anybody, and any president” to accomplish critical tasks.

While there are no signals Republicans are poised to change course, the White House announced a schedule of courtesy visits on the Hill next week that will give several Republicans the chance to meet Garland in person. He will see senators Charles E. Grassley (Iowa), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Pat Toomey (Penn.) on Tuesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) on Wednesday and senators Rob Portman (Ohio) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) on Thursday.

The fundraising circuit has also given the president a chance to take shots at GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), as well as congressional Republicans more broadly.

Even as he reassured liberal donors that Trump would not become president, he added, “But what I also said was, Mr. Trump has actually done a service, as Mr. Cruz is doing a service.  And that is laying bare unvarnished some of the nonsense that we've been dealing with in Congress on a daily basis.”

“People act as if these folks are outliers,” he added. “But they're not.”

On Friday afternoon Obama flew from Los Angeles to San Francisco, where he attended two additional events. The first was a DNC roundtable at the home of Susan Sandler and Steve Philips, according to committee officials, where about 25 supporters are contributing up to $33.400. Afterwards he attended House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) annual fundraiser at the home of Ann and Gordon Getty, where tickets cost $33,400 per couple.

According to an aide to Pelosi, the minority leader raised $4.1 million for the DCCC in the two events featuring Obama.

Speaking at the Getty's elaborate, two-story atrium, which featured massive rose marble columns and ice sculptures on each table, the president delivered an even more scathing assessment of the GOP and its front-runner, Trump.

"I want a Republican Party that's rational and well-functioning. It's good for democracy," he said. "But that's not what we have right now. That's why this election is so important."

He accused Trump of taking his ideas from House conservatives — specifically, the Freedom Caucus –and then deciding, "You know what? I can deliver this message with more flair, more panache."

And he said all the men and women in the room had to join him in their role as citizens to ensure a Democratic victory in the fall.

"In ten months I will no longer be president of the United States," he said. "But in ten months I will still be, contrary to Mr. Trump's opinion, a citizen of the United States."

Courtesy: Washington Post