$1.7 Million, 3 Fundraisers, 1 Heckler: Obama’s Night in San Francisco

May 26, 2010 7:08am

From Jon Garcia: President Obama, in full campaign mode in San Francisco, told partisan anecdotes and raked in $1.7 million for Senate democrats as his party prepares for midterm election battles. California Sen. Barbara Boxer, for whom the events were organized, got $600,000 of that take. And while Obama served up the usual political red meat, slapping down Republican policy proposals while ticking off administration policy victories, Obama found himself addressing the two big issues of the day: the Gulf of Mexico oil spill fiasco and Arizona’s controversial immigration law. On the oil spill, Obama said a full investigation into the government’s role in oversight of offshore drilling was needed. “It’s a responsibility of the federal government” to figure out what went wrong and help figure out how to fix it. But Obama said the drilling fiasco was caused in part by  America’s procrastination in transitioning to new fuel sources. “It’s about time we said to ourselves that we’re ready to make a change. … Oil will still be in the energy mix. We aren’t going to eliminate that completely,” Obama said. “[But] we cant just let everybody pollute for free … and I told the Republicans I’m ready to work with you right now to get this done.” Obama, earlier in the day, announced that he will make a second visit to the Gulf region on Friday to assess the clean up. That announcement followed reports that Obama has grown increasingly frustrated with the month-long oil leak that continues to enlarge a massive slick, at one point telling his aides to just “plug the damn hole.” On immigration, Obama, only hours after ordering as many as 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border, reiterated that he didn’t like the new Arizona state law that critics say will lead to harassment and discrimination.  “I’ve been very clear I think the law is a mistake,” Obama said. “It’s divided the country. … But I understand the frustrations.”  At one point, Obama was interrupted by a protestor, identified by a pool reporter as a member of a gay rights organization. “Move faster on ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” a man called out, referring to the current federal policy on gays in the military. After the man was escorted out, Obama pointed out that “Maybe he didn’t read the newspapers because we are working with Congress as we speak to roll back ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ … He says, ‘Do it faster’ and it’s like, ‘C’mon man, I’m dealing with Congress here. It takes a bit of time,’” Obama said to laughter. Obama’s fundraising spree was spread over three events — two at the Fairmont hotel in downtown San Francisco and one at the Pacific Heights home of Ann and Gordon Getty. Tickets for the hotel fundraisers went for as much as $2,000 each, and the price of admission to the Getty event was $17,600 per person, but for that price, attendees received dinner and a photo with the president. – Jon Garcia

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