President Barack Obama arrived in Hollywood on Friday for two Democratic National Committee fundraisers at the Santa Monica home of media mogul Peter Chernin. As the fundraiser was underway, there were reports of a shooting at nearby Santa Monica College.
Secret Service Spokesman Edwin M. Donovan said while the Secret Service was aware of the incident, it appeared to be a local incident. Still the shooting incident forced the President to depart the fundraiser by car, rather than by helicopter as originally planned.
Obama lunched with about 100 people, then attended a private reception with 35 attendees. Among the Hollywood heavyweights present were Disney's Bob Iger, J.J. Abrams, Haim Saban, Jim Gianopulos, HBO's Mike Lombardo and Sonny Ward.
The Democratic National Committee said tickets for the fundraisers ranged from 10,000 to $32,400 and that other attendees included Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti.
At the fundraiser, Obama recounted his visit yesterday in Mooresville, N.C, yesterday, touting the district's efforts to integrate technology into classrooms
"Sometimes, when people ask how do you manage through all the crises you have to deal with every day, I tell them stories like that," Obama said.
He said that in the U.S., we have so much going for us. "Sometimes we do not fully appreciate what a good hand we’ve been dealt in this country," he said.
Obama also talked about the country's university system, its scientists and natural resources, saying that there's no reason that the 21st Century should not be the American century — just as the 20th century was.
The president said the deficit has been reduced at the fastest rate since World War II and said the government can afford to make needed investments.
"There is not a single issue out there where I look at it and I say we can’t make progress," Obama said.
Calling for common-sense, centrist approaches to tackling issues, Obama said: "I've run my last campaign," Obama said. "So, all I care about right now is governance and getting things right."
"Every single time I've got an opportunity to work with Republicans, and they're game to do something sensible, I'm ready to do it," Obama said in reference to the partisan gridlock still plaguing government.
"Right now, the nature of the Republican Party makes it very difficult for them to engage in common-sense discussions around solving problems," Obama said. "Within their ranks, there’s a tendency to believe that compromise is a dirty word."
The Democratic National Committee is raising funds for what are expected to be a major fight in 2014 by Republicans to retake U.S. Senate and House seats.
Obama said he will get a lot more done with a Democratic House and he needs to keep a Democratic Senate.
He said he appreciates concerns about donor fatigue. But he said there's no time to be tired because there's so much to do.
Nearly a thousand people lined the streets leading to the Chernin’s fundraisers with some using smartphones to take pictures and others waving flags.
While one group of people cheered, one woman held a "U SUCK" sign, that listed "Benghazi" and “IRS” on it. A man held a sign saying, “Stop Corporate Greed.” Another woman held a sign saying “Close Gitmo.”
Obama came to Hollywood after making a statement in Silicon Valley suggesting many of the concerns about phone surveillance were “hype.”
"Nobody is listening to your telephone calls," Mr. Obama said. "That’s not what this program is about."
He said the surveillance program gathers information about the length of calls made internationally and to which numbers, but gathering further information requires a court order. Obama said Congress had been fully aware of the program.
After the Santa Monica event, the President heads to Palm Springs for a meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China.