A Night of money in the Big Apple
January 19th, 2012
08:07 PM ET

A Night of money in the Big Apple

President Obama spent Thursday night in New York City raising money from lawyers and entertainers in a series of four campaign events.

The president spoke to 160 hundred people in two separate fundraisers at Daniel Restaurant, the Manhattan eatery by renowned chef Daniel Boulud.

The second event of the night was hosted by the group "Lawyers for Obama" where tickets started at $15,000 each. President Obama talked about his administration's successes for the past three years but said there is still more work to do.

"We have an economy that, although now is getting close to where we were before the financial crisis struck, continues to struggle with these long-term trends that had been going on for decades, where middle-class families felt less and less secure; where the education system wasn’t equipping our kids to compete in a global economy," the president told the group of attorneys.

President Obama took his campaign to the entertainment industry with his third fundraiser of the night- this time at the home of Spike Lee.

He told his supporters, who each paid $38,500 a ticket, that no matter what their background,

"There’s no contradiction between excellence and diversity, and that making sure that everybody - regardless of race or gender or sexual orientation - is able to live out their dreams if they’re willing to work hard and be responsible, that that's what America is all about," he said. "Everybody getting a fair shake and everybody doing their fair share and everybody playing by the same set of rules - that’s what’s at stake in this election. And I’m absolutely confident we’re going to win this thing."

Singer Mariah Carey & her husband Nick Cannon and former New York Knicks star Allan Houston were among the 45 people in attendance.

The final event of the night was in the famed-Apollo Theater where more than 1,400 people rallied for the president's re-election campaign. He told the crowd there that he promised to work just as hard as he did in 2008.

"I'm not a perfect man. I'm not a perfect president, but I promise you that I kept that promise I made to you in 2008. I always told you what I thought. I always told you where I stood,  and I would wake up every single day fighting as hard as I can for you. I'm just as determined now as I was then and if you are willing to stand alongside me, we will knock those obstacles out of the way, we will reach for that vision of America that we believe in our hearts, and change will come," he said.

Al Green and India.Arie performed for the event that was emceed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. According to the DNC,  proceeds of all tonight's events go to the Obama Victory Fund, which is a joint fundraising group authorized by Obama for America and the DNC.

CNN's Laura Dolan contributed to this report.

Mayors push for local issues in meetings at the White House
January 19th, 2012
05:21 PM ET

Mayors push for local issues in meetings at the White House

While President Obama is at Disney World and in New York City for several fundraisers, the work at the White House continues. A group of mayors from cities across the U.S. have been at the White House for the past two days to meet with a variety of officials to discuss local economic issues like in-sourcing and job creation. They met with President Obama yesterday evening in the East Room and were back today for more meetings with other officials.

President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa of Los Angeles, CA spoke to reporters at the White House about the issues they discussed.

"The president has put forth a jobs agenda.  The president understands that we've got to bring manufacturing and focus on in-sourcing jobs here in the United States of American," Villaraigosa said. "The president understands that the best way to do that is to partner with our cities and he intends to fight for the idea that it's time for the Congress to get off its duff."

Also at the stakeout were Mayor Michael Nutter (Philadelphia, PA), Mayor Michael Coleman (Columbus, OH), Mayor Anthony Foxx (Charlotte, NC), Mayor Mitch Landrieu (New Orleans, LA), Mayor Brenda Lawrence (Southfield, MI), Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (Baltimore, MD), Mayor Joe Riley (Charleston, SC) and Mayor R.T. Rybak (Minneapolis, MN).

Topics: Mayors • White House
Obama's 'magical' place for tourism announcement
January 19th, 2012
04:11 PM ET

Obama's 'magical' place for tourism announcement


(CNN) – What better place to talk about the increasing tourism in the United States than on Walt Disney World’s Main Street USA?

With Cinderella’s castle as a backdrop, President Barack Obama announced a new strategy to increase tourism to the United States.  Hoping it will bring much-needed money and jobs; the president’s plan is set to make it easier for travelers from emerging countries to visit the many iconic sites across the US.

“Look at where we are. We’ve got the most entertaining destinations in the world,” Mr. Obama commented. “I’m here because I want more tourists here tomorrow. I want America to be the top tourist destination in the world.”

The plan, signed as an executive order by the president this morning, is expected to dramatically increase the number of foreign tourists allowed entry into the US.  The hope is that millions more tourists will travel around the country and spend money in local economies which could lead to the creation of over a million jobs over the next decade.

“That’s why we’re here today- to tell the world that America is open for business. We want to welcome you and to take concrete steps to boost America’s tourism industry so that we keep growing our economy and creating more jobs- here in Florida and all across the country,” the president said.

The United State’s tourism industry has heavily lobbied the administration for the changes in visa policies. The aim is to help tourists, especially from Brazil, India, and China, decrease the wait-time to obtain or renew U.S. visas. Among other reforms, the plan calls for an additional 100 consular officers in those three countries over the next year. FULL POST

Topics: Economy • Executive Order • The Vault • Tourism
Morning Briefing
January 19th, 2012
08:56 AM ET

Morning Briefing

The 1600 Report's daily roundup of what the White House is reading this morning online and in the papers:

Obama's Keystone Denial Prompts Canada to Look to China Sales : (San Francisco Chronicle with Bloomberg)

Poll Shows Obama’s Vulnerability With Swing Voters: (New York Times)

Obama rainmakers enjoy White House invites, appointments and contracts: (Huffington Post/Center for Public Integrity)

Inside Barack Obama’s World: (TIME)

POTUS is going to Disney World
January 19th, 2012
08:34 AM ET

POTUS is going to Disney World

The President's schedule for Thursday January 19, 2012:

9:15 AM THE PRESIDENT departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews/ In-Town Travel Pool Coverage  

9:30 AM THE PRESIDENT departs Joint Base Andrews en route Orlando, Florida/ Out-of-Town Travel Pool Coverage  

11:40 AM THE PRESIDENT arrives Orlando, Florida/ OrlandoInternationalAirport/ Open Press

12:35 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks where he will unveil a strategy that will significantly help boost tourism and travel/ Main StreetUSA, Walt Disney World Resort/ Pooled for TV, Open to Pre-credentialed Still Photographers and Correspondents

 2:15 PM THE PRESIDENT departs Orlando, Florida en route New York,NY/ Orlando International Airport/ Open Press

 4:30 PM THE PRESIDENT arrivesNew York, NY/ John F.Kennedy International Airport/ Open Press

 5:30 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a campaign event/ DanielRestaurant/ Print Pool for Remarks Only

 6:30 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a campaign event / DanielRestaurant/ Print Pool for Remarks Only

 7:50 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a campaign event / Private Residence/Print Pool for Remarks Only

 9:25 PM THE PRESIDENT delivers remarks at a campaign event / Apollo Theatre/Pooled for TV, Open to Correspondents

 11:05 PM THE PRESIDENT departs New York,NYen route Joint Base Andrews  / John F.Kennedy International Airport/ Open Press

 12:05 AM THE PRESIDENT arrives Joint Base Andrews  In-Town Travel Pool Coverage  

12:20 AM THE PRESIDENT arrives the White House/ South Lawn/ Open Press