'We Can't Wait' to Fundraise: Obama Tries to Revive That 2008 Feeling
The past couple of months have seen a frenzied push of "We Can't Wait" initiatives from the White House, whether it's launching 15 new Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation or expanding government purchases of biobased products.
Now, President Obama can't wait to fundraise.
Last week at this time, the president was giving a standard post-jobs-report speech touting the 8.3 percent unemployment rate at a Virginia Rolls-Royce Crosspointe facility.
Then, he hopped on a plane for Houston to plow through two campaign events that raked in up to $35,800 a head -- and was back in Washington that evening.
After this week of welcoming British Prime Minister David Cameron to the White House, entertaining the Tory at a basketball game in Ohio and ripping Republicans' energy plans in Maryland, Obama took an entire workday Friday to hit the campaign trail.
After hopping on the phone to a fuming Hamid Karzai, Obama's motorcade was off and running to Andrews Air Force Base shortly after 10 a.m. With senior adviser Valerie Jarrett at his side, the president took off in Air Force One bound for Chicago.
"I can assure you that his day will be full of the execution of his responsibilities as president, even as he is engaging in some of these campaign events," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on the plane.
The crowd at the Palmer House Hilton was just finishing up a screening of The Road We’ve Traveled, Obama's new 17-minute campaign film with a $345,00 price tag directed by Davis Guggenheim and narrated by Tom Hanks. "Not since the days of Franklin Roosevelt had so much fallen on the shoulders of one president," Hanks says in the propaganda reel.
And as if coming full circle, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel -- Obama's former chief of staff -- was on hand for the festivities. "I don’t know how he’s doing, but he seems to have a little bit of energy," Obama quipped in his remarks.
Tickets to this first fundraiser started at $2,500. And shortly after noon Central time, under the ballroom's crystal chandeliers, the president launched into his first campaign speech of the day -- the first of his five fundraising events Friday.
"Now, you might have noticed that we have some guests in Illinois this week. Apparently, things haven’t quite wrapped up on the other side," Obama said to laughs from the audience.
"And my message to all the candidates is, 'Welcome to the Land of Lincoln' -- because I’m thinking maybe some Lincoln will rub off on them while they are here," he quipped.
He noted Abraham Lincoln's launching of the transcontinental railroad and creating the National Academy of Sciences.
"Lincoln, the first Republican president, knew that if we as a nation through our federal government didn't act to facilitate these things, then they likely wouldn’t happen, and as a result, we’d all be worse off," Obama said.
He swung into reviving his change mantra from 2008, claiming that he had made it happen in the form of the auto bailout, raising fuel-efficiency standards, reforming student loans, healthcare reform, ending the war in Iraq, and making sure "that Wall Street is playing by the rules, stabilizing our economy." He also took credit for ending the "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays serving openly in the military.