Begin forwarded message:
From: "Davis, Julie" >
Date: October 23, 2016 at 8:35:38 PM PDT
To: "Velz, Peter" >
Subject: Travel pool report #9, 10/23/16 -- Obama remarks at San Diego DCCC fundraiser
First, a bit of housekeeping: There are "more than 60" attendees at the fundraiser, per the DCCC.
At 7:55 p.m., President Obama appeared with Christine Forester, who made a brief introduction in which she asked for shows of hands to see how many present had supported him early in his career. A few scattered hands went up and POTUS said, "Early investors, right?" When she was done, he took the microphone and proceeded to speak for about 19 minutes, spending the bulk of his time on the theme he emphasized earlier at his rally in Las Vegas, the importance of electing Democrats in Congress to support Hillary Clinton's agenda, and blaming Republicans for Donald Trump's rise.
He went through the familiar list of achievements on his watch, including turning the economy around, fighting climate change, bringing troops back from Iraq and Afghanistan and countering ISIL, and passing the Affordable Care Act. He singled out Nancy Pelosi, who is in attendance wearing a dress with a lace long-sleeved top and black knee-length skirt, and who he called the "former speaker and soon-to-be speaker of the House."
"A lot of this got done because in the first two years, when really the template for our economy and for our foreign policy was being formed. At that moment, where the well-being of this country was teetering, I had a congressional majority that was able to deliver, that was willing to take tough votes," even though it might hurt them politically.
He contrasted that with the years that followed when he said, "Congress essentially shut down," and he had to do things "administratively," because Republicans "couldn't get even their own stuff passed. I thought for the last two years, I was going to spend a lot of time vetoing bills. I didn't have to, because they're not even organized enough to get their own stuff done."
He then pivoted to a takedown of Darrell Issa, the California congressman who formerly chaired the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and finds himself in an unexpectedly tight race with Democratic challenger Doug Applegate, who was in attendance at the fundraiser.
"As far as I can tell, Doug [sic] Issa's primary contribution to the United States Congress has been to obstruct and to waste taxpayer dollar on trumped-up investigations that have led nowhere, and this is now a guy who because poll numbers are bad has sent out brochures with my picture on them touting his cooperation on issues with me. That is the definition of chutzpah. Here's a guy who called my administration perhaps the most corrupt in history-despite the fact that actually we have not had a major scandal in my administration-that when Trump was suggesting I wasn't even born here, said 'Well, you know, I don't know,' was not sure. We can pull up the quotes.
This guy has spent all his time simply trying to obstruct, to feed the same sentiments that resulted in Donald Trump becoming their nominee. I think somebody called Darrell Issa -- was this you, Doug? -- that Darrell Issa was Trump before Trump, and now is sending out brochures touting his cooperation with me. That is shameless."
POTUS then joked that he does give Issa some credit for being "very pleasant to me at our Christmas parties," and noted that many Republicans, including former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, show up at his holiday party with family members in tow, with all sorts of well-wishes.
"Some of them say, 'I'm praying for you,' " he deadpanned. "And I don't question the sincerity that they are praying for me: 'Please change this man from the socialist Muslim that he is.' I'm sure it's more sincere than that."
But back to Issa, POTUS said. "This is not somebody who's serious about working on problem. Contrast that with Doug-he's shown himself to care about this country... that's somebody you want in Congress. If you extrapolate from that particular race to all the races that are taking place around the country, it is absolutely vital that we do everything we can to maximize turnout, to maximize enthusiasm to make sure we reject the kind of politics that Donald Trump represents but we reject the climate that resulted in Donald Trump getting the nomination."
We are holding in vans as POTUS takes questions privately. Thanks to co-pooler extraordinaire Edward-Isaac Dovere of Politico for help with quotes.
Julie Hirschfeld Davis
White House Correspondent
The New York Times
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