April 21st, 2011
08:20 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO (CNN) – With his re-election campaign officially up and running, President Obama offered supporters in San Francisco a robust defense of accomplishments thus far in his first term, while asking them to step up their efforts to help him win a second.
“Our work is not finished,” he told a largely enthusiastic crowd at a ‘Gen 44’ fundraiser at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, even as he cited his administration’s efforts to battle a deep recession, reform the education system, and passage of health care reform legislation. His remarks were met with loud applause by the crowd when he mentioned the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ as well as his appointment of two women to the Supreme Court.
“I believe in an America where government lives within its means,” Obama said as he focused on his day job and spoke of the need to confront the deficit and called for cuts in defense spending, as well as reforming the tax code. “We all need to share in the sacrifice,” the president said while saying that sacrifice should not extend to investments in education, infrastructure, and technology for the jobs of America’s future.
“We knew this wasn’t going to be easy,” Obama told the crowd of the setbacks and disappointments that have followed since his election, but that it was the unfinished business they needed to pick up on going forward. The sentiment of unfinished business was echoed periodically throughout the remarks by audience members asking more to be done in certain areas such as same sex marriage, and a single payer health care system.
Obama told the crowd the decision to base his re-election campaign in Chicago, was to put the effort back “in your hands,” and to keep its distance from the punditry of official Washington.
Prior to his appearance at the Masonic Center, Obama attended a separate fundraiser at the home of Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, with the likes of will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder, in attendance. Wonder performed a song before Obama spoke.
In his remarks to supporters seated at seven small tables in Benioff’s Victorian-style home, Obama spoke of the “stark choice” between his policies and Republicans, while touting policies he said were going to lead the way in the globalized economy of the 21st century. The president took a few questions from the crowd as the traveling press pool following Obama was ushered out of the room.
Obama is scheduled to attend a third fundraiser in San Francisco for the DNC on Thursday morning before heading to Reno, Nevada for a town hall, and then on to Los Angeles for more fundraising in the evening.
All proceeds raised from the three events in San Francisco will go to the Obama Victory Fund according to a Democratic source. The different venues were designed to include a broad range of supporters, with tickets running from $25 to the legal maximum limit of $35,800 according to the same source. The event at the Nob Hill Masonic Center, which featured football legend Jerry Rice, and performances by DJ Hope and Goapele, was expected to draw a crowd of 2500. The two smaller events were expected to draw over 200 guests.