Obama’s Five-Point Party Pitch — Pelosi Suggests Stepping it Up

President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One at the Los Angeles International airport on July 23, 2014.

Photograph by Jewel Samad/AFP via Getty Images

President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One at the Los Angeles International airport on July 23, 2014.

He may not be looking so great these days, President Barack Obama says, but the economy is looking up.

The political picture in Washington remains bleaker, however, the president said in a pitch today to some of his party’s top financial donors in Silicon Valley.

He made his pitch for his party at the home of George Marcus in Los Altos Hills, California — he’s the founder of a real estate brokerage firm, Marcus & Millichap. In the past, Federal Election Commission records show, Marcus has written a $100,000 check to the Democratic National Committee, and another to the American Bridge committee, as well as tens of thousands more to the party and other party-related causes — including $5,000 to “End the Gridlock.”

In his pitch, the president demonstrated the five elements essential to collecting $32,000 checks:

1) Personal connection:

“I’ve got so many friends, so many people who have supported me for so long,” he said. “As I look back, I realize how many of you have pictures of me with no gray hair. You’re chronicling the slow deterioration of Barack Obama.”

“But as a consequence, one of my main functions here today is just to say thank you because you guys have been incredibly supportive in everything that we’ve done at every stage.  Many of you supported me back when I was running for the U.S. Senate, when nobody could pronounce my name, and then helped to mobilize an amazing movement back in 2008, and it continued until today.”

2) Economic report card:

“There’s almost no economic measure by which we are not better off today than we were when I came into office — that 52 straight months of job growth; 10 million jobs created; this past year, the biggest drop in unemployment in 30 years.  Unemployment now is lower than it was before Lehman’s.  We’ve seen the deficit cut by more than half.  Millions of people have health care that didn’t have it before and health care inflation is the lowest that it’s been in 50 years.  The stock market, obviously, has more than recovered and that’s important for Wall Street but, more importantly, it’s important for Main Street. ”

3) Empathy for public anxiety:

“There’s a lot of anxiety out there.  And there’s anxiety for a couple of reasons.  Number one, for all the progress that we’ve made, there’s a 20, 30-year trend that has not changed, and that is that more and more, productivity, corporate profits, the benefits of innovation accrue to folks at the very top.  And the middle class and folks striving to get into the middle class, they’re stuck.  They feel like they’re treading water.  They feel as if, no matter how hard they work, they can’t get ahead, and, more worrisome, they’re concerned that their kids are not going to be able to get ahead.”

4) Blaming the Opposition:

“The second concern people have is it feels as if Washington doesn’t work and doesn’t listen to people and isn’t paying attention to them.  And those two things are related. And the reason we don’t do it is because politics doesn’t work in Washington.  And the reason politics does not work in Washington — I want to be clear — is not because both parties are in the tank.  It’s not because everybody who goes to Congress is solely self-interested.  The reason it doesn’t work right now is because we have one party that has no agenda other than making government not work; whose primary function, primary purpose right now, if you distill their ideology, comes down to saying no to any efforts to help ordinary families get ahead.  Some of it is ideologically-driven.”

“Some of it is driven by pure political calculation — because what they know is if government is not working, people get cynical; and if people get cynical they do not vote; and if people do not vote that advantages them. ”

5)  Making the pitch:

“I am a Democrat and I’m a proud Democrat.  But my favorite president is the first Republican president from my home state of Illinois, a guy name Abraham Lincoln.  And there has been throughout our history contributions by both parties to advance the common good. I’d love nothing more than a loyal and rational opposition.  But that’s not what we have right now, and as a consequence we’re going to need change.  And to bring about change, we’re going to need you. ”

It’s been working for him.

Collecting $10,000 from individuals today and $32,400 from couples, this was the eighth fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee the president has headlined. For all the focus on the Democratic Party’s attempt to maintain control of the Senate in November, there also are a lot of House seats in contention. And so there he was today, the president standing with a couple of the party’s prospects for House seats.

So far, the DCCC is recording a stronger fundraising run than the National Republican Congressional Committee during the 2014 election cycle — $124.7 million to $101.5 million. The same is true for the parties’ senatorial campaign fundraising parties ($95.8 million to $71 million), though the RNC itself is outpacing the DNC in overall fundraising ($131.9 million to $116.3 million).

Yet one partisan ally of the president suggests that perhaps it’s past time that Obama make a harder push with the first four-fifths of that pitch to a broader voting public.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California was with Obama today.

She asserted earlier this week, in an appearance on MSNBC’s ”Morning Joe,” that it’s not beyond reason to suggest that her party could also regain control of the House. She made the same economic success case that Obama did today: The Dow fell to 7,000 in the early days of his watch, during the worst recession since the Great Depression — it’s over 17,000 today. The federal deficit was over $1.5 billion and rising. Today it’s under $600 billion and falling. Unemployment was close to 10 percent, and now its near 6 and falling. And, yet, she recognized the same public anxiety that the president spoke of today — and with a public so restive, she suggested, anything is possible in November.

Pelosi was asked about why the president isn’t connecting with the public about the successes he is touting — his approval rating at 42 percent in the latest Gallup Poll.

“There is, as you know, a lot of talk about the president of the United States being kind of remote,” MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle told Pelosi. “Kind of difficult to access emotionally. Kind of not angry enough… What is the deal with the guy?”

Pelosi reeled out the numbers on the Dow, the debt, unemployment and more.

“I think he has a great deal to be proud of,” Pelosi said of the president.  “While I disagree with the characterization, if that’s the impression people have, then communication has to be stepped up.”



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