| LA JOLLA, Calif.
LA JOLLA, Calif. May 8 President Barack Obama
warned tech leaders on Thursday to dig deep in their wallets to
fund Democratic candidates and feel a sense of urgency about
congressional elections in November or risk further gridlock in
Washington and a failure to move on their priorities.
Obama took his California fund-raising tour to the seaside
home in La Jolla of Qualcomm founder Iwin Jacobs. Later
he was headed to Silicon Valley for a fundraiser in San Jose
co-hosted by Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Yahoo Inc.
CEO Marissa Mayer.
The tech industry has raised questions about the scale of
the National Security Agency's surveillance under the Obama
administration, but there's little sign that Obama is losing
support in Silicon Valley.
Obama made no mention of these concerns in his luncheon
speech attended by 65 guests who paid up to $32,400 per couple
for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Obama told them that majorities of Americans support the
direction that Democrats want to take the country, such as on
raising the minimum wage and making sure women receive equal pay
as men, but that they have "lost faith that we can actually make
it happen" because of Washington gridlock.
Obama needs Democrats to do well in November to allow him to
advance his agenda in his last two years in office, in 2015 and
But most political analysts believe Republicans will build
on their majority in the House of Representatives and stand a
decent chance of ousting Democrats from control of the Senate.
Obama has been using fund-raising speeches to warn of this
outcome, saying Democrats need to avoid getting distracted by
media attention on the 2016 presidential election to choose a
successor to him.
Obama said in La Jolla that Democrats need to gain seats "in
order for us to not simply play defense but to actually go back
on the offensive for the American people."
The president has launched a series of executive actions
this year to get around the divided Congress, but on some
issues, like a comprehensive immigration overhaul, he can only
go so far on his own and needs congressional action.
He accused Republicans of taking a backward view on climate
change, an issue he has been pushing this week.
"You've got to believe in climate change in order to work
with me on climate change," Obama said of Republicans.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Ken Wills)