On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, President Obama did some campaigning of his own, attending two fundraisers in Washington, D.C., tonight that netted at least $1.2 million for Democrats and his re-election campaign.
Obama also used the outings, his first two money events of 2012, to test drive his nascent campaign themes.
In a speech to 700 supporters at the Capitol Hilton, a fired-up Obama mimicked a clip reel of his greatest hits from the stump, exhorting his base to be “greater together” and energized by a vision for America “that says everybody deserves a fair shot, everybody needs to do their fair share.”
Reprising a litany of accomplishments from his first term that he’s begun to brand as “change is,” Obama touted the repeal of “don’t ask don’t tell,” end of the Iraq war, and passage of a landmark health care overhaul as promises kept from the 2008 campaign.
Then pivoting to a call-to-action, Obama told the crowd, “Everything we fought for during the last election is at stake in this election. The very core of what this country stands for is on the line.”
“Don’t take my word for it: Watch some of the debates that have been going on up in New Hampshire,” he added with a smile, referring to the two Republican presidential debates that took place over the weekend.
Obama disparaged the policies of “Republicans in Congress and on the campaign trail,” casting them as charting a course for the country in a “race to the bottom.”
And he promised that he would continue to deliver on “big change” in a second term, regardless of challenges faced during his first.
“If you want to end the cynicism and the game playing and the point scoring here in Washington, then this is the election to send the message that you will refuse to back down,” Obama said to the electrified crowd.
“And this election may be harder than the last one, but I promise you we will finish what we started in 2008,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, Obama attended an exclusive fundraiser with 25 supporters at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington. Each paid $45,000 to attend, according to a Democratic official. The event, which was closed to all press coverage, was dubbed a “roundtable discussion” by a White House spokesman.
Obama told the crowd at the Hilton that he spent time “reminiscing about the 2008 campaign” with those deep-pocket supporters, but had to give them a reality-check.
“I said, ‘You guys are engaging in some selective memory here,’” he said. “First of all, 2008 wasn’t easy at all. There were all kinds of setbacks and miscues. Times I screwed up. But just over three years later, just because of what you did … we’ve begun to see what change looks like.”
The funds raised at the private event benefited the Obama Victory Fund and Swing State Victory Fund, two joint fundraising accounts for the Obama campaign and Democratic National Committee. The second event benefited only the Obama Victory Fund.