Fw: in-town pool print report 5: OFA events at St. Regis

From: Evan McMorris-Santoro [mailto:xxx@email.com]
Sent: Monday, November 09, 2015 05:56 PM
To: Velz, Peter T. EOP/WHO
Subject: in-town pool print report 5: OFA events at St. Regis

POTUS took the stage at a packed ballroom in the St Regis hotel at 4.50 PM ET to address gathered members of OFA. The hashtag for the event, emblazoned on screens throughout the room, was #OFAFallSummit.

Transcript will be forthcoming.

POTUS' speech was standard donor event boilerplate, listing off his accomplishments, noting how older he looks in pictures these days, but with a nostalgic twist for the volunteers that helped elect him twice. POTUS noted the difficulty of electing a person named Barack Obama in 2008.

"When i look back at the pictures i look like i was 14 or something," he said. "So clearly we were not going to be able to run a conventional campaign."

POTUS spoke a lot about what had been accomplished, and more about what is left to be done. Highlights:

"We had a good jobs report last week, unemployment went down, wages are starting to go up the way they should, but we've got a lot of catching up to do, because a lot of folks haven't gotten a raise in long time."

"We've got to make sure women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same job."

"We've still got our work cut out for us to fix the broken immigration system. At a time when we've got so many people playing on anti-immigrant fears, we've got to remind people that this is a nation of immigrants. That's how this country got built."

POTUS spoke of a photo Ellis Island immigrants he saw recently in a magazine.

"They did not look as though they had just hopped off a jet and were just spruced up. I mean, they were strivers. But they were escaping poverty and in search of a better life. A lot of them didn't have great educations, but they knew that if they were able to get here that their kids would have a great education. The notion that somehow this generation of immigrants is somehow different from the past is just not true."

POTUS hinted at his future, and hinted that OFA will remain a part of it.

"Understand this: I may only hold this office for another 14 months but I'm not going anywhere. I will still hold the most important office in our democracy, that's the office of citizen."

"The only thing that will happen is I'll get a chance to visit you more often."

POTUS speech ended around 5:05 PM ET.

Pool was then led across the St. Regis lobby to the restaurant, where around 55 people were sitting at tables eating salads. At 5.17 PM ET, POTUS entered and gave short off-the-cuff remarks that were again focused on his accomplishments and nostalgia for his campaigns.

"Where are we right now? The economy has improved by every measure. The fact of the matter is that if you ask the question Ronald Reagan said was the most important thing to ask about a presidency that is, 'are you better of four years ago?,' you are."

"Where we haven't made as much progress as I would like is people feeling connected to their government. People feeling control over their lives."

POTUS noted that OFA has grown along with his presidency.

The new crop of OFA Fellows "are already doing amazing things. And they look really young each year. They're starting to, disturbingly, look like Malia, and there's a reason for that. Malsia's about to go to college, and I'm getting old. But that's OK as long as I see what these young people are doing I have confidence in the future of this country."

Pool was led out after 5.20 PM ET so POTUS could take questions without press in the room.


Evan McMorris-Santoro
BuzzFeed News White House Reporter

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