NEW YORK May 14 President Barack Obama has a
modest, tongue-in-cheek suggestion for people in New York City
who support his agenda: move to North Dakota.
The idea drew laughs in what was otherwise a somber speech
at a $32,400-per-ticket fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial
Campaign Committee in the posh Upper East Side apartment of
investment banker Blair Effron, co-founder of Centerview
In the second of two fundraisers on Wednesday, Obama
bemoaned how Democrats face some "structural disadvantages" in
elections - winning with large margins in places like Brooklyn
but losing to Republicans in red states.
Obama described buying cheesecake at Junior's Restaurant in
Brooklyn in October while campaigning with Bill de Blasio two
days before the mayoral election.
"The streets were filled, everybody was waving," he
recalled, describing being hugged by a woman whose sister got
health insurance because of Obamacare.
"'We love you - what can we do to support you?'" he
recounted the woman saying.
"I said, 'Move to North Dakota!"
"If I could just get about a million surplus votes in
Brooklyn out to Nebraska, Wyoming," he said, drawing laughs from
the crowd of about 50 people.
Obama has been busy on the fundraising trail ahead of
November midterm elections, where Republicans are expected to
retain control of the House of Representatives, and Democrats
face a tough fight to retain control of the Senate.
Democrats traditionally have a difficult time getting
supporters motivated to vote in midterm elections.
"We have to break that cycle," Obama said, explaining he
needs a Democratic-controlled Senate to help him advance his
agenda to fight climate change and reform immigration laws in
his last two years in office, 2015 and 2016.
"I have to have partners in Congress," he said.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Ken Wills)