Obama urges Democrats not to be distracted by 2016 chatter

LOS ANGELES Wed May 7, 2014 10:49pm EDT

1 of 4. Amid the wreckage, U.S. President Barack Obama speaks as he visits the tornado devastated town of Vilonia, Arkansas May 7, 2014. With Obama are Vilonia Mayor James Firestone (L) Senator Mark Pryor (2nd L) and Governor Mike Beebe (R).

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - President Barack Obama brought his fund-raising prowess to California on Wednesday and urged Democrats not to let increasing attention on the 2016 presidential race distract them from focusing on November 4 congressional elections.

Obama issued the warning at the first of five Democratic events he will attend over three days that will raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for use by the party's candidates for the Senate, the House of Representatives and other races.

At the Bel Air home of Disney chairman Alan Horn, Obama spoke to a crowd that included actress Barbra Streisand and her husband, actor James Brolin.

He exhorted them to help turn back a strong challenge from Republicans who are trying to win control of the Senate and build on their majority in the House.

With much of the news media focused on the potential candidacy of Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016, Obama noted that "a lot of people here are already excited about 2016."

But he said Democratic voters need to turn out in November for elections that will determine whether his party still has control of the Senate for his last two years in office.

Obama urged the Democrats to "feel a sense of urgency about this election" and resist the typical pattern in which Democratic voters turn out in far fewer numbers in midterm elections than they do in presidential elections.

"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 as important, because we can't afford to wait until 2016," he said.

The party that controls the White House typically loses seats in midterm elections, but Democrats are fighting to buck the historical odds.

Obama later was to accept a humanitarian award from director Steven Spielberg at the University of Southern California's Shoah Foundation, a Holocaust museum founded by Spielberg after he made "Schindler's List."

Obama traveled to California from Arkansas, where he toured the devastation left by tornadoes that slashed through parts of the state. By his side was Senator Mark Pryor, a Democrat whose re-election is key to the Democrats hanging on to control of the Senate.

Obama's Marine One helicopter provided the president with an aerial view of the destruction caused by a powerful EF-4 tornado, with winds of at least 180 miles an hour, and other deadly twisters that ripped central Arkansas last week, killing 15 people and injuring more than 150.

On the ground, Obama met families of the victims at Vilonia City Hall and walked down a street in a neighborhood whose houses were blown to pieces.

Piles of boards and scattered bricks were all that remained of some homes on one side of the street, while on the other, several brick structures were largely intact.

"The federal government is going to be right here until we get this community rebuilt," Obama said, his shirt sleeves rolled up in the spring heat.

Democrats see Pryor's race as critical to their bid to fend off a strong Republican challenge and hang on to control of the Senate in November.

Pryor, 51, holds a narrow lead over Republican challenger Tom Cotton, while a few months ago he was trailing. Pryor's former Senate Democratic colleague, Blanche Lincoln, lost her re-election bid in Arkansas in 2010 by 20 percentage points.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Ken Wills)

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Comments (9)
Bakhtin wrote:
“he said Democratic voters need to turn out in November for elections that will determine whether his party still has control of the Senate for his last two years in office.”

It will be interesting to se whether that happens. These elections are usually quite boring and predictable – supporters of the incumbent president sit at home instead of voting, and the oppositions picks up a few seats as a result.

On the other hand, the current GOP is the most useless and divisive congressional majority ever, and their divisive tactics could play against them this time round. By being so obstructionist, and so divisive, trying to motivate their ‘base’, they may have also motivated Democrat voters to get rid of them.

It will be fun to watch.

May 08, 2014 1:13am EDT  --  Report as abuse
4825 wrote:
@Bakhtin wrote: “On the other hand, the current GOP is the most useless and divisive congressional majority ever,”

It is actually the democrat side of congress (the senate) that has been the most divisive congress ever. Harry Reid does everything he can in order to keep from taking up legislation that is sent to him from the House. He changes the senate rules in order to drive through the extreme liberal agenda. The American people know that the democrats have been divisive and November should show it. A large portion of the population sees the democrats for what they are, the party of tax and spend. I see more and more people fed up with the liberal agenda as this administration proceeds.

May 08, 2014 8:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
morbas wrote:
Yes CA, vote vote vote. Having experienced the Gay Marriage Ban amendment, one should ‘never doubt the power of a small group’. Thus a Federal DOMA was born to counter that atrocity.
Under Brown at least some measure of progressive income taxation was used to balance the budget. But I would argue that any subsistence taxation compromise is atrocious, as was presented at the poles..
The present tax structure favors wage disparity, by taxing subsistence wage. One issue I have is that consumers pay business burdens through product cost overhead. The executives are allowed huge profits, which are relatively untaxed, and that are a major business burden. This an incentive for wealth disparity, that can be self regulated by a graduated taxation at margin above subsistence wage. The Income Tax Act of 1913 represents the best approach of combining all income into a non-exempt graduated tax base. This was sufficient to generate a roaring twenties economic plateau. Separation of Corporate and State is needed to shield against oligarch subversion of the peoples Democracy.

To: Office of Senator (insert name)__________________
United States Senate Washington,
D.C. 20510
To: Office of Representative (insert name)________________
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
We the people of this United States do proclaim this federal government ‘of, by and for the people’. That, in order to fairly distribute revenue burden, to satisfy ‘net income’ progressive taxation, to balance all governments budgets, and to not tax poverty;
The people mandate:
Income National Tax code that shall use margin graduated income tax principle: Margin $30k 0% single, $60K 0% joint, income above this a linear increasing rate {Income-[$30k or $60k])*(Income/$800k)*90%; 90% limit} . Exemptions shall be prohibited. The Federal Reserve shall amend the (90%) rate, and control currency printing mandated to maintaining currency availability and value. The Federal Reserve shall set the Margin rate value well (>2x) above highest of all State Poverty Level(s). Revenue shall be proportioned 1/3rd Federal,1/3rd State proportioned per cast ballot and 1/3rd Local proportioned per cast ballot.
This National Tax is a peoples tax, no other citizen taxation shall be permitted. Business shall not be taxed. The Federal Reserve shall control taxation. The people will by simple majority approve or reject all margin and rate changes at every Congressional House Representative election year ballot.

Join me and write to unburden the disadvantaged, the Middle Class

May 08, 2014 8:42am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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