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Obama Motivates Donors To Get Involved In Midterm Election

Obama
President Barack Obama was in Los Angeles on May 7.

President Barack Obama began a planned 18 1/2-hour visit to Los Angeles on May 7 by attempting to motivate donors to become involved in the midterm election, then accepted an award from an organization that seeks to keep alive memories of the Holocaust and other genocides.

After mentioning that Democrats are less likely to vote in midterm elections than presidential elections, Obama told the crowd of about 90 at the Bel-Air mansion of Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn and his wife, Cindy, “My main message to all of you is feel a sense of urgency about this election.”

“This is my last campaign and I’m going to put everything I’ve got into it, but I need you to feel that this is just important, because we can’t afford to wait until 2016,” Obama said.

In his approximately 15-minute speech, Obama recounted his achievements in office, including lower unemployment, increased production of wind and solar energy, increased fuel automobile fuel efficiency, providing health insurance to those previously uninsured through the Affordable Care Act, and contrasted positions held by Democrats and Republicans.

Tickets for the fundraiser benefiting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee were priced between $10,000 and $32,400, the maximum amount that can be given to a party committee in a calendar year under federal law.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, also spoke to the crowd that included entertainer Barbra Streisand, her actor husband James Brolin, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Following the fundraiser, Obama headed for the Century Plaza Hotel in Century City, where he received the highest honor from the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education, during its 20th anniversary Ambassadors for Humanity Gala.

Movie director Steven Spielberg, the foundation’s founder, presented the Ambassador for Humanity Award to Obama for what organizers described as his global efforts to protect human rights, his commitment to education and expanding educational technology, and his work advancing opportunities for all people.

“The testimonies of survivors like those with us tonight also remind us that the purpose of memory is not simply to preserve the past, it is to protect the future,” Obama told the crowd of approximately 1,300. “The voices of those recorded and unrecorded, those who survived and those who perished call upon us, implore us and challenge us to turn ‘never forget’ to ‘never again.’”

Talk show host Conan O’Brien hosted the event, joking about the traffic jams caused by Obama’s visits. Bruce Springsteen performed “Dancing in the Dark” and “The Promised Land.”

On May 8, Obama will conclude the visit by conducting what The Hollywood Reporter described as an intimate “round table” discussion at The Beverly Hilton, benefiting the Democratic National Committee, with a top ticket price of $32,400.

The trip is Obama’s 17th to the Los Angeles area since taking office in 2009. All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers. He has made 10 trips to the area solely for fundraising.

“Since the Clinton presidency, Los Angeles has become the principal donor base for the Democratic Party,” Raphael J. Sonenshein, the executive director of the Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs at Cal State Los Angeles.

“Thirty, 40 years ago, that would have been inconceivable because so much of the Democratic Party fundraising was on the East Coast.”

Clinton “turned California into his second political home and that has pretty much continued,” Sonenshein said.

“Even Republican candidates raise a considerable amount of money in Southern California, but relatively speaking, any Democratic president in a election year is going to spend a lot of time raising money” in California, Sonenshein said.

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