Obama says shutdown shows contrast of parties' visions

NEW YORK Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:14pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands before he speaks at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, October 25, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama shakes hands before he speaks at the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, October 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - With an eye to 2014 elections, President Barack Obama held up the government shutdown this month as an emblem of fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans on Friday in an appeal to wealthy donors.

"The shutdown was about more than just healthcare, it was about, sort of, a contrast in visions about what our obligations are to our fellow citizens," the president said at a fundraiser at the home of Karen Mehiel on New York's posh Upper East Side.

Republicans made defunding the president's signature healthcare program a condition for continuing to fund government operations, leading to a partial shutdown for 16 days and bringing the country to the brink of debt default.

The president must work with Republicans who control the House of Representatives if he hopes to pass budget, immigration reform or farm legislation this year, as he has said he hopes to do.

But his comments point to an effort to take advantage of the shutdown, which hurt Republicans' in public opinion polls, to help Democrats make inroads and perhaps reverse the Republicans' majority in the House.

Serious snags marring the rollout this month of the healthcare program could hurt Democrats, but Obama made no mention of those difficulties in brief public remarks at other fundraisers.

Instead, the president focused on his hopes to boost spending on things like education and repairing roads and bridges, which he said were part of the vision for the country that Democrats share.

"We believe that government has a role to play," he said. "Part of the debate and battle over the last several years has been what role do we have as a country collectively to create the platform and the tools for people to succeed."

The president has embarked on a series of fundraising events that began this week in Washington.

In New York, he raised money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee at a reception followed by a dinner. It was the fourth fundraiser he has held for the DCCC in the 2014 cycle.

At another event across town in Manhattan, Obama appeared at an event attended by 20 people who paid up to $32,400, a Democratic National Committee official said.

Obama is due to travel to Boston for fundraisers next week.

In November, he is expected to raise funds in Miami, Philadelphia, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

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Comments (25)
flashrooster wrote:
I wish the President would take on government corruption. I wish ANYONE would take it on. Unfortunately, I think it’s understood that whomever does put corruption in their political crosshairs they will die a political death. Even a sitting 2nd term President doesn’t enjoy impunity on this issue. I think the Democratic party would bear the brunt of that Presidential effort. That’s too bad. I’m afraid it’s up to us and we tend to be unmotivated, poorly organized, and poorly funded. The only way to get well-funded is to do like the Tea Party and sell out. Then you become part of the problem, rather than the solution. Perhaps when Obama leaves office he’ll take up the charge, but I’m not holding my breath. No one wants to have all of those wealthy, powerful, influential people as their enemy. Getting rid of the corruption in the US government will be a long, difficult slog. Heck, you can’t even get a politician to acknowledge that it exists.

Oct 25, 2013 10:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bighammerman wrote:
Me thinks that if you can’t see that Obama was responsible for and pushed the envelope hard to cause the shutdown, you have been blinded as a result of drinking the Kool Aid. I think of Obama as a Muslim disguised as a Christian who is deliberately trying to sink the country. Don’t support him is this quest.

Oct 25, 2013 10:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
BillKahn wrote:
The way Obama has acted totally reminds me of my girlfriend. Last February, my girlfriend wanted me to give her expensive chocolates for Valentine’s Day. I wanted her to give me a girlfriend that wasn’t fat. I thought it was a real Gift of the Magi scenario. She didn’t see it that way.

Oct 25, 2013 10:59pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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