Obama tells Democrats to focus on November midterms, not 2016

BOSTON Wed Mar 5, 2014 9:00pm EST

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on raising the minimum wage at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut March 5, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks on raising the minimum wage at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut March 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

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BOSTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama gently chided Democratic donors on Wednesday for paying too much attention to the next presidential race in 2016 and not enough attention to the upcoming midterm elections in 2014.

Reminding Democrats at a fundraiser in Boston that "we got whalloped" in the 2010 midterms, when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives, Obama warned that "it could happen again if we don't fight on behalf of the things we care about in this election."

"No one could be more invested than me in having a Democrat succeed me," Obama told about 70 supporters at a dinner where tickets cost $5,000 to $20,000. But he stressed to Democrats they need to invest time, money and energy on the November midterms.

"In the midterms, Democrats too often don't vote. Too often, when there's not a presidential election, we don't think it's sexy, we don't think it's interesting, people tune out," Obama said.

A third of the 100-member Senate is up for grabs in November elections as well as all 435 seats in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

Republicans believe they have a good chance to pick up the six seats they need to take control of the Senate based on public dissatisfaction with Obama.

The Boston event was one of 30 fundraisers the president plans to headline through June.

Earlier on Wednesday, in Cambridge, Mass., Obama held a private roundtable discussion with about 25 supporters at up to $32,400 per ticket, organized by the Democratic National Committee.

Obama told supporters that the policies he is promoting are popular with voters, such as raising the minimum wage.

"It's common sense, that's all I'm trying to say. It's just common sense," Obama said in a campaign-style speech to about 3,000 people at the Central Connecticut State University, just outside of Hartford earlier on Wednesday.

Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour, up from the current level of $7.25, which he said would lift wages for 28 million people. Three-quarters of Americans agree it should be hiked.

"It would immediately raise millions of people out of poverty. It would help millions more work their way out of poverty. And it doesn't require new taxes, doesn't require new spending, doesn't require some vast bureaucracy," Obama said.

Connecticut has already raised its state minimum wage above $7.25, and Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy is seeking to hike it again to $10.10.

Republicans have objected to the plan to raise the minimum wage, bolstered by a report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, which said the plan could lead to 500,000 fewer jobs.

"We know beyond dispute that raising the minimum wage will destroy jobs for people who need them the most. When folks are still struggling to find work in this economy, why would we make that any harder?" said Brendan Buck, a spokesman for Republican Speaker John Boehner, in a statement.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Tom Brown and Ken Wills)

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Comments (19)
4825 wrote:
If Democrats were not so bad at economics they might have a chance. They have made a train wreck of healthcare. Obama is proposing a 500,000 job killing minimum wage increase in a very bad economy. The ACA will kill 2,000,000 jobs. They have made a shamble of foreign policy by showing weakness and talking of military force reductions to levels below the point they were before WWII. Obama has the National Debt on track to double the total combined accumulated debt by all the previous presidents. The job market is very weak. The housing market is weak. The Democrats have raised taxes through the ACA and continue spending money we do not have. If the country is lucky in November we will be rid of many of the democrats and at least stop the bleeding on the patient.

Mar 05, 2014 10:44pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Overcast451 wrote:
Yep – don’t focus on education, repairing infrastructure, the environment, crime, jobs, the economy – focus on your campaign.

This sums up most everything that’s wrong with politics – on both ‘sides’ of the isle.

Mar 05, 2014 11:35pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Raising minimum wage will cause job lose? If anything it would cause people to get off federal assistance and work for 10.10 an hour. The last time the minimum wage was raised during times like these was by FDR during the Great Depression. End result? More jobs were created, more spending to stimulate the economy. Great Depression over and America back on it’s feet

Problem is that no one is looking to the past to see what caused most of the problems. People want to think that once the old president is gone, any and all problems are caused by the new one. It doesn’t work like that. Clinton came in on a deficit, it took 4 years of placing in countermeasures and taxes to get America into a surplus. Cause and effect. People want get fixed real quick while others want something stable and long term.

History shows that a Republican President plunges America into a massive debt and a Democratic President either cuts the deficit in half or completely. So before you go blaming Obama who’s actually taking similar steps that FDR has to fix a Republican’s mistake, go look to the Republican party who’s blocked so many bills and laws that could’ve taken us out of this crisis. You don’t believe me? Who cause the government shutdown? Who for a record 50 times keeps trying to get rid of ACA? A law they supported and now all of sudden don’t want? Who has representatives that constantly make your party look stupid and incapable of leading the party let alone run for president? Does Ted Cruz, Sarah Palin, Ted Nuggit, The Tea Party? The Republican Party.

Before you try to fix the nation how about you fix your party up and find some candidates that actually has a desire to fix the nation without the being used by the Koch Brothers

Mar 06, 2014 12:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
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