President Obama speaks at the "30 Days to Victory" fundraising… (Kevin Winter / Getty Images )
If President Obama comes back to Los Angeles after Nov. 6, he’ll return without his ATM card to withdraw money from the city’s deep-pocketed donors for his campaign.
So Obama’s remarks to 150 or so contributors at the Ritz-Carlton on Sunday night had an air of nostalgia, along with a firm commitment to honor their support by “closing the deal” in the final 30 days of the campaign.
“To all of you here tonight, I want to say how grateful I am. But I also want to tell you we’re not finished yet,” the president said at his third and final event in the city. “So you will see me working as hard as I have ever worked for the next [30 days]. … And then, you’ll see me working as hard as I ever have over the next four years.”
As he did earlier in the night at a far more public affair, a star-studded concert that drew 6,000 to the Nokia Theatre, Obama conceded that his performance in last Wednesday’s debate was lacking. That delayed admission, at least in public, came in tandem with a renewed determination to defeat Mitt Romney.
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But, Obama said, he was not aiming to win simply for winning’s sake. He shared the story of a young man who waited him and First Lady Michelle Obama this weekend as they marked, belatedly, their 20th wedding anniversary. At the end of the meal, Obama recalled, the waiter thanked him for passing a healthcare reform law that helped his mother afford medication to prolong her life after a stroke.
“And that’s what’s at stake,” he said. “It’s not clinging onto 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, and then over the next decade, and then over the next two decades – that sense that there’s something about this country that allows everybody to get a fair shot, and allows everybody who is willing to work hard and take responsibility to chase their dreams.
“That’s what the next 30 days is about. And that’s why I intend to win. That’s why we’re going to be working so hard to win,” he said.
After an official event to dedicate a new national monument honoring the late civil rights activist Cesar Chavez, Obama continues his fundraising trip to California in San Francisco. The two days of events will bring in about $10 million, in addition to nearly $950 million he had raised through the end of September.
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Obama paid tribute to his California finance team at Sunday’s event, with special thanks to DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and his wife, who “have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race.”
To those in the room, who paid $25,000 each to attend, Obama said he expected to continue to call on them.
“It won’t be for political donations, but it’s going to be for your time and your energy and your ideas and your effort, because we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “Because the election is just a means to an end.”