Obama Raises Cash for Reid, Touts Sotomayor Pick

By Gorman Gorman

May 27, 2009 7:43am

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller reports: President Obama attended a fundraiser for Senate Majority leader Harry Reid’s reelection campaign Tuesday night in Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas.

The event — which aides said raked in $2 million for the senator — featured performances by Bette Midler, Sheryl Crow, Rachel Yamagata, and comedian Rita Rudner.

The president used the platform to not only pitch for Sen. Reid but also to pitch for his newly chosen Supreme Court nominee, Judge Sonia Sotomayor.

"Today I nominated a brilliant individual to serve in the U.S. Supreme Court, Judge Sotomayor," the president said. "This is a woman who will bring more experience on the bench than anyone currently serving on the Supreme Court. She graduated the top of her class at Princeton, editor of the law journal at Yale, prosecutor in the Manhattan DA’s office, corporate litigator, six years a trial judge on the U.S. District Court, her 11th year on the U.S. Court of Appeals — the second highest court in the land. Nobody can say she’s not qualified to be on the Supreme Court."

As he did at her nomination announcement in the East Room, the president touted Sotomayor’s life journey, being raised in the South Bronx and making her way though school.

"Sonia Sotomayor’s life is proof that all things are possible and when she ascends those marble steps to assume her seat on the highest court of the land, America will take another important step toward realizing the ideal that is chiseled above its entrance. Equal justice under the law. So I am inspired by her, I am honored to nominate her."

The president used the stage to again call for her quick confirmation in the Senate.

"I know that Harry Reid and others in the senate will make sure that she is confirmed as our next Supreme Court justice. And I know that because Harry has just as an improbable story."

The president — who attended a $2,400 VIP reception in addition to the fundraiser — spoke at length about Sen. Reid’s dedication to Nevada and to the United States.

"In the last few years, Harry has done an extraordinary job as leader of the U.S. Senate, and that’s not easy by the way," Obama said mentioning that the last majority leader, Trent Lott’s book was called "Herding Cats", "and "that’s what dealing with the Senate is all about, it’s not easy."

The president accentuated Sen. Reid’s humble beginnings in Searchlight, Nev.

"(He)still makes decisions and chooses his battles based on the values he was raised on," Obama said, "and that’s why we need to keep Harry Reid exactly where he is — as leader of the U.S. Senate."

The president played up the partnership that he sees with Sen. Reid in the Senate.

"Because I am president, it’s hard to get things done if you don’t have some great allies in Congress, part of what I appreciate about Harry is also that he just knows how to get things done," Obama said, mentioning that Reid played a role in the legislative accomplishments of his administration so far — the recovery package, SCHIP, and credit card reform.

"As long as I’m president I want him to be my majority leader," the president concluded.

Mr. Obama said being back in Las Vegas reminded him of all the time he spent in the city during the campaign. Except, he joked, there’s a bit of an upgrade when he came back as the president, not just a Senator.

"I thought I had a good room at Ceasers, but now that I am president they upgraded me, they have been stashing away a really nice room. Its like one of those high roller rooms. And now I have it because I am president."

– Sunlen Miller

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