From: Nelson, Colleen McCain [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Wednesday, May 27, 2015 07:33 PM
To: Barnes, Desiree N.
Subject: Travel Pool Report #5 -- second fundraiser
The pool was escorted into the second fundraiser at 6:40 p.m. The dinner event was held in a large, low-slung home painted a cheery yellow on the exterior. Inside, the room was packed full with five large round tables. Eleven or 12 people were seated at each table.
President Obama spoke for about seven minutes, saying that he wanted to leave most of the allotted time for a question-and-answer session. The remarks will sound familiar to careful and not-so-careful watchers of fundraisers.
Obama said this is a fascinating time in the country’s history. "Since I took office, we pulled ourselves out of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression," he said. And by almost every economic measure -- perhaps by every economic measure -- we are better off than when he came into office, Obama said. He cited an array of areas where he’s seen progress, including making sure children have access to early childhood education and the doubling of clean energy production.
“By almost every measure, this country’s come bouncing back in ways that a lot of folks in 2009 might not have anticipated,” he said.
“But what’s also true is that there is so much work that’s left undone,” he said. "So many things we could be doing to make sure that more people have access to the ladders of opportunity that have been the hallmark of this country."
Obama said that if immigration reform passed, the economy would improve, the deficit would go down, and America would continue to be both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.
“If we were serious about rebuilding our infrastructure, we could put people back to work right now,” he said. That would spur GDP growth and lay the foundation for continued expansion and improved economic competitiveness, he said.
If the budget included more money for research so that the U.S. is on the cutting edge of innovation, who knows what new inventions and new industries might be created in the United States, he said. Obama also called for more investments in job training programs and early childhood education and stepped up efforts to make college affordable.
“On all these fronts, we've done great work, but we have so much more that we could be doing,” he said. "And the reason it's not getting done is not because we don't know what to do -- it's because we're stuck in Congress on so many of these issues."
“We’re not waiting for Congress,” he said. “We’re moving forward on everything from precision medicine to rationalizing where we can our immigration system.”
Ultimately, the great genius of this democracy is that the most important office is the office of citizen, he said. “We’ve got to get people involved so that Congress ultimately responds to an electorate that is expressing our highest and best values around issues like climate change and issues like education,” he said.
“I am confident that we’re going to be able to do that, but I can’t do it without folks like you,” Obama said.
He said Michelle is very pleased that he cannot run again.
“It is a liberating feeling in the sense that the amount of time I have left really concentrates the mind,” he said.
Obama said a lot of folks have been surprised that the White House is really moving on issues.
He added, though, that “ultimately, an eight-year span in the life of a country is pretty short.”
Obama said he can get a lot done, but part of what he is doing is laying the foundation to pass the baton.
He said how much staying power some of his efforts have depends on Congress.
In the blink of an eye, he will return to the office of citizen, Obama said. He told those in attendance that together, he wants to make sure they’re doing everything they can to create the kind of America that has given all of them such incredible opportunities.
And with that, the pool was led out as Obama opened up the floor for questions.
At 7:30 p.m., Obama has departed the second fundraiser, and the motorcade is rolling.