POTUS promises supporters he’s a “big believer of closing the deal” at his second fundraiser of the evening, and shares a story from his anniversary date night with FLOTUS Saturday. Please check all quotes against transcript.
Pool hustled out of Nokia Theater immediately after POTUS concluded his remarks, across the street to the JW Marriott. We held in part of the restaurant, LA Market by Kerry Simon.
Shortly after 8pm pool went through the lobby to an elevator at the adjoining Ritz Carlton and to the 24th floor, arriving at the aptly named WP24.
Attendees seated at about a dozen round tables, 10 people per table, were finishing plates of dim sum as pool arrived in the dimly-lit room, with views outside blocked by dark curtains. Bold faced names spotted by poolers: George Clooney, newly-minted Oscars host Seth, and Harvey Weinstein — all at the same table closest to where POTUS spoke.
POTUS entered the room at 8:25pm, along with Mayor Julian Castro, who made a brief introduction.
“You just heard from the future of the Democratic Party,” Obama said of Castro as he began his remarks.
POTUS thanked his southern California co-chairs before offering a special tribute to Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg.
“They have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad, since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name.”
After these acknowledgments POTUS discussed his and FLOTUS’ recent 20th anniversary.
“The actual anniversary date was not that romantic. There was some speculation as to whether this had an impact on my performance. But I did make it up to her on Saturday,” with date night. They had a private room at the restaurant and were served by a “wonderful young waiter,” who was “professional, very unobtrusive,” and who put up with them, he said, because they were “milking it for all that it was worth because e don’t get out that often.”
At the end of the meal, POTUS recalled, the waiter thanked him because, “You saved my mothers life.” Explained that his mother had had a stroke, but didn’t qualify for Medicare. Because of the Affordable Care Act, they were able to get her the coverage she needed “that allows her to take her medicines and is keeping her alive.”
“And it reminded me of why we do this. I’m a fairly competitive guy. Clooney’s played basketball with me. And I don’t like to lose. Especially not to actors.”
But it’s easy to “get caught up in the sport of politics,” but he’s in it for stories like the waiters.
“There are times during the course of a presidency when you are so focused on policy and Congress and data and analysis. And yet one of the wonderful things about the presidency is that at least once a day you’re reminded, that’s why you do it,” he said.
Turning to the 30 days ahead, Obama said for him the election is not about “clinging on to an office. It’s not about power. It’s not about perks. It’s not about winning. It’s about can we sustain over the next 30 days and then over the next four years … the sense that there’s something about this country that allows everybody to get a fair shot.”
“It doesn’t guarantee people’s success. … But the idea that in this country everybody counts and that for all our individual initiative and self reliance we also do some things together as one people and one nation, that’s what the next 30 days is about. And that’s why I intend to win,” he continued.
Launched into a bit of stump speech about the contrasts between he and Romney on the range of issues. At one point he acknowledges, after four years with a “front-row seat” to the federal government, there are “aspects to the federal government that were designed in the 1930s and need to be redesigned.”
“So the question now is how hard are we willing to fight for the vision we profess. How hard am I going to fight, but it’s not just me in this.”
Comparing 2008 to 2012, he said it was “kind of cool to be an Obama supporter” four years ago. Some who supported him early could “go around saying I told you so.” But now, as then, “there are times you have to grind it out.”
“It’s hard work to bring about change. But as we go into these last 30 days I want you to constantly think about what’s at stake.”
Romney is not proposing anything that would create new jobs, Obama said. “I’m not just offering prospective plans, over the last four years I’ve shown that we have created jobs, improved our education system, made us safer in the world, helped clean up the environment. I’ve not just talked about doing it, I’ve done it.”
Wrapping up he said, “We’re not finished yet. And I’m a big believer in closing the deal.”
“You will see me working as hard as I’ve ever worked for the next three years” he continued, before catching himself – “the next 30 days. It will seem like 3 years. And then you’ll see me working as hard as I ever had for the next four years.”
He said he will continue to call on people in the room if re-elected, not for donations but for “your time, your ideas, your energy and your effort.”
Ends with a nod to American exceptionalism. “There is something exceptional and special about this country. And there are very few people around the world who wouldn’t do everything they could to be citizens of the United States or have the same opportunities that we have.” That will continue “if we work hard these next 30 days.”
After the remarks concluded pool immediately ushered out and to the vans. Motorcade was rolling out of downtown at 8:45pm.