Columns

Obama to Donors on Campaign: 'This Is Going to Be Fun'

President Obama told a DNC fundraising event in New York on Wednesday that “there’s cause for optimism because America is resilient and it’s tough and it’s full of good people,” even though “the bad news is that our politics has been a little screwed up lately.”

Obama was speaking at the home of Huffington Post co-founder and BuzzFeed chairman Kenneth Lerer, where about 60 guests paid up to $33,400 each. He also spoke at a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event and taped an appearance on The Tonight Show.

“We’re seeing it now most prominently in the Republican nomination process and some of the interesting exchanges we’ve been seeing within the Republican Party, set aside between Democrats and Republicans. And I know that that’s got a lot of people worried and it’s got a lot of people discouraged,” Obama said of the “screwed up” politics.

“But what I’m here to tell you is that if we do our jobs, then this country is going to be fine. If we do what we have to do, then the majority of the American people are going to want a country in which every child gets opportunity. And the majority of Americans are going to want a country where we’re taking care of the environment and passing on a sustainable planet to future generations. And the majority of people want to continue the incredible vigor and energy that’s brought about by immigration in this country, as long as it’s lawful,” he added.

“…And so when scientists tell us that the planet is getting warmer and we need to do something about it, the majority of people think that’s a good idea, let’s do something about that, because we don’t want Manhattan to be underwater.”

Obama, who is meeting today with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) at the White House, said he’s “not too worried” about the Democratic Party being able to “come together” after their own bruising primary season in which the Vermont socialist still hasn’t thrown in the towel.

“I am concerned about us doing the hard nuts-and-bolts work of turning out people to vote, particularly young people, particularly low-income people who oftentimes feel forgotten and are still stressed and are still pressed. And in order for us to reach them, we’re going to have to do some work. We’re going to have to organize. We’re going to have to do what I did in 2008 and what we did in 2012, and that is fan out and go door to door and listen, as well as talk about the issues that are at stake,” he told the donors. “We’re going to have to draw sharp contrasts, but we’re also going to have to model the fact that it’s possible to be passionate and full of conviction, and not be mean or think that there’s no possibility for a compromise. We got to get busy and we got to organize, and we got to work.”

The president added that “a democracy is not self-executing.”

“I like a situation where it’s in our control. I like those moments where if I do what I’m supposed to do, I can get a good outcome. And you should feel that as well. But understand it’s not going to be automatic, and make sure that all of you feel the same kind of energy and passion that helped to get me elected in 2008 and 2012. And in the meantime, we’ve got to get our Senate back and get a Supreme Court justice. This is going to be fun.”