President Obama used a stop at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser inside Tyler Perry‘s home on Thursday to speak briefly about the tragic church massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.
“To see such a horrific event unfold like that is particularly shocking and it’s a reminder that we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Obama told the 250 people gathered at Perry’s Beverly Hills home.
Earlier in the day, the President called the killings “senseless murders.” But he faced criticism on social media for jetting off to Los Angeles for fundraisers immediately after his emotional remarks in Washington, D.C.
As the Perry fundraiser got underway, the filmmaker introduced Obama by calling him “one of the most incredible people I have ever met.” He also joked that the President had volunteered to take over the Titanic after it had already struck the iceberg.
During a lighter moment, the President praised Perry and his family.
“His baby is so cute” Obama joked. “Got a cute mama,” he said referring to Perry’s youthful partner.
The President spent most of the time touting his economic record and healthcare reforms, receiving strong applause from supporters.
At one point, as he talked about his concerns that college is still too expensive, and too many students end up with too much debt, a small child interrupted the President to squeal ‘owww’, prompting laughter.
The star-studded audience included Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, “Mad Men” actress January Jones, “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, retired NBA star Jason Collins and former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
Much of Obama’s remarks were about the gridlock in Washington and the need to fix it.
“We should be reforming our criminal justice system in such a way that we are not incarcerating non-violent offenders in ways that render them incapable of getting a job after they leave office,” he said in describing the criminal justice system. The President later called the “leave office” reference a “Freudian slip.”
He also spoke about receiving a letter from a man in Colorado who voiced exasperation that Obama had not been able to get enough done because of the gridlock in Washington.
“As mighty as I have struggled against that, I told him ‘you are right,’ it still is broken.”
The President however told attendees that more is needed than writing letters about the system being broken.
“What are you doing?” he challenged the audience.
The fundraising event at Perry’s home was the second and largest of two events Obama attended Thursday in Southern California. In the other, he spoke to a about 30 people at the home of iconic television producer, Chuck Lorre. Party supporters contributed from $2,500 to $33,400 each to attend the events.
On Friday, Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton will arrive in Los Angeles for three campaign fundraisers.