President Obama told a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Los Angeles over the weekend that the Republicans have gone off the “deep end.”
It was a busy fundraising weekend for Obama along the West Coast, which kicked off after he met with families of Umpqua Community College shooting victims in Oregon on Friday.
His fundraising swing included a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee event at the Pacific Palisades home of director J.J. Abrams. The White House press pool was stashed in the attic during this roundtable.
The presidential motorcade took a four-minute drive to another Palisades home where DNC supporters ponied up tens of thousands of dollars to watch Jamie Foxx perform. Then Obama headed to another home in Holmby Hills, the $12.5 million abode of interior decorator Michael Smith and his husband, U.S. Ambassador to Spain James Costos. Here, the press pool was stashed in a guest room while Obama spoke in the living room.
“Somebody observed the fact that I’m not wearing a tie today. Some of you will recall that I used to never wear a tie when I was campaigning right at the beginning. And I was explaining that I think around halfway through the campaign people started realizing that it was conceivable I might end up being president, and so David Axelrod came to me one day and he said, listen, Barack, you’ve got to start wearing a tie because you don’t look old enough potentially to be president when you look casual,” Obama told the crowd paying $33,400 apiece. “So we got to dress you up a little bit. So we started wearing a tie. I was wearing a tie all the time. And now that I am so gray there’s no doubt that I’m old enough to not only be president but to have been president, we’re reverting back to a more casual style.”
Obama did the standard stump speech rattling off accomplishments of his administration, claiming “there’s almost no measure by which we’re not better off now than we were when I came into office.”
“What we see — most prominently in the presidential campaigns, but what we’re seeing in the struggles taking place in the House — is that politics of fear being fanned and expanding. And it can express itself in anti-immigration rhetoric. It can express itself in hunkering back on the need to take care of folks who are vulnerable, or to provide more opportunity for people who’ve been locked out of the American dream. It can express itself in sort of cheap jingoism and militarism and nationalism that’s not grounded in our national security interests. But it’s a dangerous path,” he said.
“The Democratic Party is by no means perfect. There are oftentimes when I want to smack us across the head,” he acknowledged, adding “the leadership of the Democratic Party and, for the most part, the rank and file, are willing to do the right thing even when the politics doesn’t work.” He gave as an example the Iran deal.
Obama claimed he’s “been felted at times by folks in my own party for not being sufficiently partisan.”
“But I don’t think we come out of the womb Democrat or Republican. And I come from a state where the first Republican President was pretty good — a guy named Lincoln. And there have been times where the Democrats were on the wrong sides of issues,” he said. “But I will tell you, at this moment in history, the choices are stark, and facts, evidence, values are on our side. And the other side has gone off the deep end. And what you’re witnessing in the House fight right now is that even deeply conservative folks are not considered ideologically pure enough, and we would rather burn the house down than admit the possibility of a democratic process that requires compromise. And we have to beat that kind of mindset.”
“This is not something where we can just let it pass, because if we let it pass, then you’ve got people in charge who don’t believe in climate change, don’t just not want to do anything about it, don’t believe in it. We start getting folks who are willing to run funny numbers on the budget that will slash education funding and funding for the disabled and seniors, and suggest that somehow it’s justified by economic theories that you can’t find in the textbooks.”
Obama said he feels “as much urgency about this upcoming election as I’ve felt about any election, and I am not on the ballot.”
“…And I definitely need a Democratic successor, because the alternatives that we’re seeing right now are not what I have in mind for the future of America.”