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President Obama starts fundraising tour in Seattle

SEATTLE – President Barack Obama sounded a nostalgic personal note Sunday night and offered a rare self-assessment while criticizing congressional Republicans as an “impediment” to governing during the start of a West Coast fundraising tour for the Democratic Party.

Obama told donors the sight of Mount Rainier illuminated by a setting sun was particularly special because it reminded him of his mother, who attended high school in the Seattle area. “I feel the spirit of my mom,” he said.

He also attempted to contrast himself with Republicans who control the House of Representatives, saying they are “more focused on positioning themselves for the next election.”

“I’m not a particularly ideological person,” he said, adding he still is passionate about giving people a fair shake, about the environment, and working for peace and national security. “But I’m pretty pragmatic about how we get there.”

Money, star power and Hollywood awaited the president on this trip, which featured a bit of official business, but mostly fundraising for a Democratic Party eager to go on offense after a politically debilitating two months.

Obama arrived Sunday evening in Seattle. He also planned stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, raising money for House and Senate Democrats as well as the national party.

High-profile events on the schedule include a reception at the home of retired basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson and his wife, Cookie, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and one at the house of Marta Kauffman, co-creator of television’s “Friends.”

Accompanied by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Obama attended a reception and dinner Sunday at the home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.

Though he professed he was not looking for the defeat of another party, he said the country needs Pelosi to be House speaker again.

In addition to the dinner at Shirley’s home, Obama also attended a Democratic National Committee event Sunday at the home of Tom Campion, co-founder of the clothing chain Zumiez. Unlike the dinner at Shirley’s house, reporters were not permitted into the fundraiser.

The event attracted about 30 donors, the DNC said. Tickets also were $32,400 per couple, according to an invitation.


 

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