Latest from President Obama’s fundraiser in Florida

Subject: Travel pool report #10 — DCCC fundraiser notes


POTUS addressed a DCCC fundraiser tonight in the city of Pinecrest, a suburb of Miami (background sent in previous pool report). His remarks were broadly similar to those at prior fundraisers this election cycle and also reflected on his visit earlier today to Valencia community college in Orlando.


Please double check quotes the full White House transcript, and thanks to Sarah Wheaton of the NY Times for help with these notes. We are now heading back to the airport to return to Washington..


Just after 8:30 p.m., POTUS spoke in the backyard of the columned mansion with a light evening breeze in the air.


He was introduced by Tracy Mourning, wife of former NBA star Alonzo Mourning. Tracy Mourning said she grew up poor even though her mother never let her knew it, and she reminded Democrats in the room they are there to help people less fortunate.


POTUS began by saying that he was a big fan of Alonzo Mourning before he met him – and despite his being a Chicago Bulls Fan. “He had a warrior’s heart,” POTUS said. He always fought for what he believed in and he was always a team player.”


POTUS abundantly praised Nancy Pelosi as “one of our greatest speakers” in history and said he wants “to get her back there.” He also name checked the other members of the congressional delegation at the fundraiser.


POTUS recounted for the audience his visit to Valencia community college earlier in the day and his meeting with a group of women there. “All of them had a story to tell about overcoming,” he said.


POTUS said the day’s event was the start of a process that Pelosi, the White House and others “are launching across the country” to focus on women and families, culminating in a June event at the White House.


POTUS said: “How do we make sure that folks who work hard and are taking responsibility for themselves and have dreams about something better for their kids, how do we make sure that hard work pays off?”


He continued that people in the room have experienced “incredible blessings…..because the previous generations have poured that same effort and blood and sweat and tears and had the same kinds of dreams for us.”


“And as a consequence in this country, we have made it,” he said. “But it’s also because we have a society and a government that said at critical junctions, Let’s give you a hand up.”


He continued: “What we now fight for is making sure that same values, those same visions, are there for the next generation and the generation after that and the generation after that. … Those of us who have been blessed by this country have an obligation to make sure that vision [continues].”


“Ultimately that’s what our politics has to be about.”


POTUS said: “I’ve run my last race but when I think back to the very first race I ran, there is a running thread. … That is the sense that regardless of what you look like, or where you come from, what your last name is, what faith you are, that you can make it. We’ve got to make sure we don’t lose that.”


POTUS described the country’s economic rebound. “We’ve got more things going for us economically than any other country on earth.”


But, he said, “Even though the economy is growing again — incomes, wages, they’re flat. … People are having a hard time getting traction and feeling confident that their children are doing better than they are.”


He called for raising the minimum wage, pay equality for women, policies to provide flexibility to working parents, and early childhood education.


Then he warned about the opposition.


“Unfortunately we’ve got folks on the other side who have a different vision of America. They’re no less patriotic,” he said. “But their basic vision is that we don’t have an obligation at least through our government to help. Everybody’s just got to look out for themselves …or the community that you’ve built…we don’t have to worry the kid on the other side of town, we don’t have to worry about that woman who’s cleaning our house.”


“Which is why, POTUS added, “every initiative we’ve put forward they say no to.”


“That’s what not just this election but the next five elections are going to be about.”


POTUS observed that on “every individual issue” polling shows Americans support Democratic positions.


But, he added, “The challenge is that our politics in Washington have become so toxic that people just lose faith. They say, y’know what, it doesn’t matter, I’m not that interested, I’m not gonna vote. And that’s especially true during the midterms.”


“During presidential elections, young people vote, women are more likely to vote, blacks, Hispanics are more likely to vote. And suddenly a more representative cross section of America gets out there, and we do pretty well in presidential elections.”


“But in midterms, we get clobbered, either because we don’t think it’s important or because we get so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while. And the reason today is so important, and the reason that I’m so appreciative for all of you being here is because we’re going to have to get over that. This is a top priority.”


He said working people and kids need Nancy Pelosi as speaker and Harry Reid to stay majority leader.


“I’m just hoping that all of you feel the same sense of urgency that I do.”


“I’m not on the ballot this time, but I didn’t get into politics just for the office. I got into it because I believe in what we’re fighting for. But I can’t do it alone. Nancy can’t do it alone, Debbie cant’ do it alone. We’re going to need you.”


Then said he would take questions “as soon as our outstanding members of the press corps take off.”





Zachary Goldfarb

White House and economics writer

The Washington Post