White House Press Pool latest – President Obama in Hollywood

Sent: Tue Sep 27 00:06:48 2011
Subject: travel press pool report #12

Appearing at the Fig and Olive restaurant in West Hollywood, Obama spoke to a group of Hollywood and music industry big wigs who had paid $17,900 apiece to get in. The group included DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenburg, who introduced the president, along with actor Jack Black, actor Danny DeVito, actress Rhea Perlman, producer Jon Landau, director Judd Apatow, music producer Quincy Jones, and Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, among others.

The celebs were seated at round tables with white table linens in the hip, modern, sleek restaurant, with high ceilings and a wall of wines in front of which Obama spoke. David Plouffe and Jay Carney were among those working the crowd before the remarks began.

In his introduction, Katzenberg said: “I have a dependency on President Obama. He inherited a crashing economy and two wars and opponets who questioned if he was even board. Yet he kept us moving fowrad. … He was dealt adversity on all fronts, but he maintained his stature. … We must keep fighting for him so he can keep fighting for us.”

Obama got a standing ovation.

Highlights from Obama’s remarks, which included him trying to sell the jobs plan — and his proposed Buffett Rule tax hike — to the wealthy celebs:

“We’re going through an unprecedented time in our history. We’ve not seen anything like this in our lifetimes. This financial crisis is as bad as any since the Great Depression.
“My job was to make sure not we did not tip into depression…. to save a financial system teetering on the brink of meltdown. What got me involved in this president busines … was not just to solve a crisis, but a recognition that after decades the American people felt as if rules had somehow changed on them. …

“There was a compact that said anybody in America could make it if they tried. You struggled sometimes, but you could make it. Somewhere along the line people felt as if that compact had been broken. It happened long before the financial crisis hit.

“A lot of people across the country are doing the right thing and having an incredible difficult time. The financial crisis laid bare problems that had built up for a decade..,.

“People understood across the board something wasn’t right. What we did in 2008 was capture a moment in time where people said we can do better than this. Over last two years, wev’ve done an awful lot. I still have a list in my pocket of campaign promises I made. I keep checking things off the list. Equal pay for equal work, the Lilly Ledbetter law, was the first bill I signed. Ending ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ — done. (audience claps)

“Making health care affordable and accessible to every single America, we made it happen (audience claps). Even though it’s not fully implemented yet, there was just a report last week that over 1 million young people have health insure who had not had it before because they can stay on their parents’ plans.

“Ending the war in Iraq. 100,000 out. They will be all out by the end of this year. Restoring a sense of respect around the world. We do not just have power through our military but also our diplomacy, our values, the power of our examples. There’s an awful lot we’ve gotten done, but here’s the challenge: It is restoring that compact, restoring that sense we’re all in this together and everyone is doing their fair share. Shared sacrifice and opportunity, that project is not complete. It’s not finished. Which is why we’ve got to work just as hard in the coming year as we did in 2007 and 2008. If anything, we’ve got to work harder in part because it’s not going to be as sexy, not going to be as new. I’m grayer, I’m all dinged up. (audience laughs)
Those old posters, everyone’s got in their closet. They’re all dog-eared and faded.

“Mainly it’s hard because people are just tired… We’ve been driving thru a storm, trying to keep this boat afloat, through something we haven’t seen in our lifetimes. People are weary. And hurt. The energy of 2008 will have to be generated in a differe nt way. There is a clear constrast in where we want to take the country and where the other folks want to take the country. Right now, obviously a lot of folks are hurting but if we can give them a sense of possibility as hard as it is we can still get there. If we say down road not wean selves off fossil fuels and say if we smart and pursue energy effe

“There’s a vision out there to be had. We’re going to have to drive toward it. In the short term what we need to do is put people back to work.

“The way we will pay for it is by swallowing very tough cuts that are necessary but that do not endanger the economy right now because they are spread out over 10 years. But we also are saying that we’ve got to have some revenue. And that revenue is going to have to come from us. The fact of the matter is Warren Buffett’s secretary should not pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. .;.. The fact is that we made it in part because somebody was paying for decent schools and somebody was paying for roads and someone was paying for research…

“Now it’s our turn… we should do the same thing. That’s not class warfare, that’s common sense.

“The other said has a very different idea of where to take this country. I urge some of you to watch the Republican debates (audiencelaughs). There’s a different vision who we are, what we stand for. The American people want a bold, optimistic vision of AMerican, not a cramped vision that says you’re on your own.”

“But as hard as things have been …we’re going to have to fight for our vision. I’m going to need your help. Don’t get tired on me now. This is when we’re tested. We’re in Hollywood now so think about movies, the arc of the story. If things are just smooth the whole way through, not only is it a pretty dull movie, but it doesn’t reflect our experience, it doesn’t reflect life. Character’s tested when things are hard. This country is being tested but I have complete faith in its character. That’s what this eleciton’s about. It’s about value, character, who we are.”
Obama wrapped up his remarks and then offered to answer questions. The press pool was ushered out around 8:45 p.m. PST. “THey’re going to file their stories,” obama said.

Pool ushered to vans at 9:07 p.m. PST.

(Aside: No joy in mudville: Redskins lose 18-16 to the Cowboys)

David Nakamura
Washington Post Staff Writer