President Barack Obama touched down in Los Angeles Wednesday for a star-studded Democratic National Committee fundraiser at the home of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes, in LA’s upscale Hancock Park neighborhood.
Approximately 450 supporters attended, with tickets starting at $1000, according to a press release issued by the White House.
The President praised Washington, who volunteered during his 2012 re-election campaign. “There were few people who worked harder,” Mr. Obama said. Then he mentioned the actress’ newborn daughter as he addressed the crowd. “She showed me her baby pictures, that is one cute baby.”
Mr. Obama then complimented the well-heeled guests, who sat on folding wooden chairs by a pool and cabana. “Nice looking crowd, you all got dressed up,” he said. After some joking around, he segued into his traditional fundraising remarks, saying the US has made “remarkable progress” in the economy and socially, with the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and other LGBT issues. But, he added, people across the country “still feel anxious.”
The President also took a jab at Republicans, blaming them for the gridlock in Washington. “The Republican Party has been taken over by people who just don’t believe in government,” he said.
Mr. Obama then told the audience, “[You] can’t afford to be cynical,” and he called for more spending on roads and bridges. “We know what to do, the problem is there’s no political will to get it done.” Mr. Obama urged the crowed to get more involved and stay engaged, citing the struggles during such challenging times in American history as the Civil War and the Civil Rights movement. “At each juncture someone could’ve said, ‘this is too hard,'” he said, adding nothing gets accomplished “by the cynics and the naysayers.
“It’s those who are filled with hope that get things done.” The President concluded by urging his supporters to stay with him. “I’ve got two years left in this presidency, I want to get a whole bunch of stuff done.”
In lighter moments, the President singled out the evening’s performer Janelle Monae, joking she’s played so often at the White House that there should be a room named for her. He also joked with the singer about her having a video of him trying to keep up with Usher on the dance floor. “She can blackmail me at any time,” he said of the video. “I did not drop and split, but I did bust a move.”
On Thursday, President Obama is scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion with about 30 people at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino. Tickets to the discussion cost $32,400-per-person, according to the Political Party Time website.
His final event will be a speech at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College on Thursday, where he is expected to speak on the importance of “job-driven skills training” according to the White House.
Ira Teinowitz contributed to this report