At his first fundraiser in San Jose, President Obama took aim at Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, without naming the Texas governor by name, and was critical of the recent GOP debates. He said the 2012 election will be “a contest of values.”
“Some of you here may be folks who actually used to be Republicans but are puzzled by what’s happened to that party, are puzzled by what’s happening to that party. I mean, has anybody been watching the debates lately? You’ve got a governor whose state is on fire denying climate change,” he said, to applause. “It’s true. You’ve got audiences cheering at the prospect of somebody dying because they don’t have health care and booing a service member in Iraq because they’re gay.
“That’s not reflective of who we are,” Mr. Obama said. “This is a choice about the fundamental direction of our country. 2008 was an important direction. 2012 is a more important election.”
Mr. Obama said it’s not enough for the supporters in the audience to support him. He said if their friends and neighbors are reading the Wall Street Journal editorial page or watching Fox News the donors at this event need to talk to “push back” on their “inadequate information.”
“And in some cases I may need you to have some arguments with our progressive friends,” Mr. Obama said.
He said over the last 2.5 years even though he’s gotten a lot done a lot of Democrats “get dispirited.” He brought up the complaint about health care reform without a public option – “c’mon!” he said. He said he hasn’t got everything done on the environmental front because of the economy.
“We’re going to have a stark choice in this election. But I have to make sure that our side is as passionate and as motivated and is working just as hard as the folks on the other side because this is a contest of value. This is a choice about who we are and what we stand for and whoever wins this next election is going to set the template for this country for a long time to come.”
He told the donors if they believe in a “fact-based” America, they need to work hard for him.
POTUS also quoted “my friend Joe Biden,” who likes to say, “Don’t compare me to the almighty, compare me to the alternative.”
The fundraiser was held in the backyard – yard is a gross understatement – of the home. Cocktail tables were draped in either navy blue or white cloths. There was a stage for the band splashed in alternating blue, purple and yellow lighting. A large brick fireplace was blazing. There were bar stations throughout. The area was landscaped with flower gardens and clipped hedges, a water fountain sculpture, winding paths covered with stones, trees and beds of roses.
Mr. Obama appeared in the backyard at 6:55 pm. He spoke at a lectern set up in the yard for about 22 minutes.
He gave shoutouts to Reps. Mike Honda and Anna Eshoo as well as the mayor of Oakland. He thanked Bruce Hornsby, who also performed at this fundraiser, and Chris Cornell.
He called the people in the room “my stockholders.” He began by talking about the economic and challenges when he took office.
“I’m back to report to you, my stockholders,” he said. Over the past 2.5 years he said he has rescued economy; “decimated” al Qaeda including killing bin Laden; ended don’t ask, don’t tell; created the consumer protection agency, Lilly Ledbetter; environmental moves like fuel efficiency standards; and by 2013 – “as long as I get a second term” – health care reform will be implemented.