President Obama assured well-heeled Democratic Party donors in Texas on Wednesday night that he wants to get the GOP “back in a functioning state.”
Obama’s fundraising swing through the Lone Star State was as much about hammering his Obamacare message as raising cash, trying to capitalize on the post-shutdown environment to try to paint himself as a unity leader.
After placing a congratulatory call to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie — “Obviously he and the governor have spent a lot of time together,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters — Obama headed first to a healthcare event at Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, where he quipped, “I’m the first to say that the first month I’ve not been happy with.”
“To finish the job, now what we’ve got to do is sign up those folks who don’t have health insurance and improve insurance for those who are under-insured, who don’t have very good insurance, and have been subject to the whims of the insurance company,” he said. “…And that’s the challenge that we’ve got over the next month, three months, six months, next year. And if we get that done — when we get that done — then we will have created a stable system in which there’s no reason why people shouldn’t be getting health care in this country.”
Obama compared the website woes to “having a really good product in a store, and the cash registers don’t work and there aren’t enough parking spots and nobody can get through the door.”
“And the website is already better than it was at the beginning of October, and by the end of this month, we anticipate that it is going to be working the way it is supposed to, all right?”
His audience at the temple’s social hall consisted of about 150 people the White House called “local volunteers who are helping consumers learn about and enroll in quality, affordable health insurance plans through the Marketplaces.”
His welcome wagon across the street, as witnessed by the White House pool reporter, included protesters wielding signs such as “Obama… Oy Vey” and “Honk if you want Obama impeached.”
The promotional stop for the healthcare website came as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released new testing documents stating that the day before Healthcare.gov launched it was only able to handle 1,100 users “before response time gets too high.”
Obama then headed to the home of Dallas lawyer Peter Kraus for a $15,000 per head event to raise money for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
“The way the political system works right now, it is biased and skewed away from common sense. The electorate has gotten more polarized, the media has gotten more polarized. Being extreme, being controversial tends to get you on TV and get your name out there. If you’re just being sensible and saying, well, let’s try to work together across the aisle, then you know you’re going to live in obscurity,” he said.
Of the shutdown, he said, “we’ve got to liberate those reality-based Republicans from some of the extreme impulses in that party.”
“But if they don’t see a cost for those kinds of strategies, then they’ll keep doing it. And the only way to extract a cost when it comes to politicians is during election time.”
Obama then went to the home of trial lawyer Russell Budd for an intimate reception with 25 guests, where he gave brief remarks before the media was ushered out of the gathering of the bigwig donors.