President Barack Obama took aim at Republican presidential candidates without citing any by name during a three-day West Coast fundraising swing expected to raise more than $8 million for his re-election campaign.
“These folks who are running for president,” Obama said at a San Francisco fundraiser yesterday with approximately 2,500 people who paid at least $100 each. “Their philosophy is simple: we are better off when everybody fends for themselves and everybody plays by their own set of rules. I’m here to tell them, they’re wrong.”
Obama’s re-election organization and a related Democratic National Committee effort raised a combined $29.1 million in January, his campaign said in a Twitter posting this morning.
During the middle leg of a trip that raised almost $4 million from California donors, Obama sought to position himself as the defender of the middle class and Republicans as those who would seek to destroy it.
“They want to go back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage, jack up premiums without any reason,” he said. “They want to spend trillions of dollars more on tax breaks for folks like me who don’t need it and aren’t asking for it.”
Obama is pointing to signs that the economy is rebounding as he seeks re-election with an unemployment rate that has been at or above 8 percent for three years. Today he will go to a Boeing Co. factory in Washington to promote his goal of doubling exports to $3.14 trillion by 2015.
Today Obama will also attend a fundraising lunch with 65 people at the home of Costco Wholesale Corp co-founder Jeff Brotman and his wife Susan in Medina, Washington, and a reception later in Bellevue, Washington. The two events expected to bring in at least $1.6 million.
California is the biggest electoral prize in presidential politics and Obama won there by 24 percentage points in 2008. It’s also been the biggest source of cash for his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a Washington-based group that tracks political money.
Obama listed the accomplishments of his first term, including the health care overhaul, the auto bailout and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell at a fundraising dinner yesterday with approximately 70 people at the San Francisco home of Nicola Miner, daughter of the Oracle Corp. co-founder Robert Miner, and her husband, novelist Robert Mailer Anderson. Tickets for the dinner cost $35,800.
Singer Al Green performed his 1971 hit, “Let’s Stay Together” at the dinner. The song is on the campaign’s official 2012 playlist and Obama crooned the first line of the song at an event at New York’s Apollo Theater last month.
“I took a chance at the Apollo and I’m not going to take a change again,” he joked. Obama said after he gets re-elected he “might go on tour with the good reverend, be his opening act.”
Earlier yesterday Obama addressed 125 people who paid at least $2,500 per person to attend a luncheon at the Corona Del Mar, California, home of Jeff and Nancy Stack. He is the managing director of Irvine-based developer Sares-Regis Group.
California was hit hard by the recession. The state’s unemployment rate was 11.1 percent in December, compared with the national rate of 8.3 percent in January.
That won’t cool enthusiasm for Obama in the state, said Ari Swiller, an adviser to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat. California Democrats will be mobilized by issues such as vows by the Republican presidential candidates to repeal the health care overhaul, he said.
‘See the Reality’
“I don’t see any drop off at all, as people are getting more focus on it and starting to see the reality,” Swiller said in an interview.
Obama raised about $3 million for his campaign at two Feb. 15 fundraisers at the Los Angeles estate of soap opera producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen.
After speaking to approximately 1,000 people at a concert featuring the rock band the Foo Fighters Obama attended an 80-person dinner co-hosted by comedian Will Ferrell with celebrity guests including George Clooney and Jim Belushi.