After attending a $17,900-per-person fundraising brunch at a private residence in the Seattle area earlier in the day, and before later flying to California to fundraise it up at George Clooney's house, President Barack Obama stopped by the Paramount Theatre today for a 1,800-person "fundraising reception" featuring music from Dave Matthews and a whole lot of adoring supporters.
Taking the stage just after 3 p.m., Obama's stop at the Paramount stuck to the familiar tones his campaign has already struck, with the President telling the crowd there's no time for the country to slide backward and erase the accomplishments of the last four years.
Outside the Paramount after Obama's campaign event.
Those hoping for Obama to directly reaffirm yesterday's endorsement of same-sex marriage (and the crowd included many in this camp) didn't get exactly what they were hoping for--as the President kept things vague on this front--though most didn't seem to mind, taking the gratification where they could find it.
"I'm here because your country needs your help," Obama told the adoring crowd, a mix of upper-crust liberals and the occasional baseball cap.
"There was a reason so many worked your hearts out in 2008. It wasn't because you thought it would be easy. You did support a candidate named Barack Hussein Obama. The odds are rarely in your favor in that situation," Obama joked. "You don't need a poll to tell you that might not be a sure thing."
"You did not join the campaign because of me. We came together because of a shared vision."
"We believed that in America your success shouldn't be determined by the circumstances of your birth," Obama continued. "If you're willing to work hard, you should be able to find a good job. If you're meeting your responsibilities, you should be able to own a home, maybe start a business.
"You should be able to give your kids the chance to do even better than you, no matter who you are, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, no matter what your last name, no matter who you love," Obama said to massive applause. "This wasn't just about me. You guys made the commitment to each other."
Later in the stump speech, Obama hit on another familiar albeit somewhat vague message of his presidency thus far, saying everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of race or sexual orientation. Once again, the hungry crowd went wild at this declaration.
After making nice from the podium with all the power players in attendance--the usual cast of characters, from Governor Gregoire to Jay Inslee to Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen (not to mention Dave Matthews)--Obama stumped for nearly 10 minutes before lacing into Mitt Romney and the GOP campaign against him.
"The last thing we can afford is a return to the policies that got us here in the first place," said Obama. "You've come too far to abandon the changes we've fought for these past few years. We've got to move forward, to the future we imagined in 2008, where everybody gets a fair shot and everybody is doing their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules. That's the choice in this election."
"My opponent in this election, Governor Romney, is a patriotic American and has raised a wonderful family. He should be proud of the great personal success he's had as the CEO of a large financial firm,' said Obama, obviously setting up the punch line. "But I think he's learned the wrong lessons from those experiences. He actually believes that if CEOs and the wealthiest investors like him get rich, that the rest of us automatically do too."
Despite the celebratory vibe inside the Paramount, Obama predicted this election would be closer than his defeat of John McCain in 2008--chalking this up to the feeling of frustration many Americans harbor toward Washington, D.C., and politics as usual.
"Seattle, this election is actually going to be even closer than the last. And the reason for that is too many of our friends and neighbors, they're still hurting because of this crisis," said Obama. "And they see what's going on in Washington [D.C.] and they don't like it. So, there's just a frustration level there that will express itself in the election."
"There's still a lot of work to be done," said Obama. "The other side will not be offering these Americans a real answer to their questions. They're not offering a better vision. They're not offering a new set of ideas. Everybody knows that."
At the podium for just over a half hour, and no doubt feeling the pressure to wrap up and stay on schedule for the fundraising dinner at George Clooney's house in California later tonight, Obama reiterated his familiar promise to Americans.
"I told you in 2008 that I wasn't a perfect man. Maybe Michelle told you," joked Obama. "And I won't be a perfect President. But I promised, back when I was running that first time, that I'd always tell you what I thought, and I'd always tell you where I stood. And I'd wake up every single day fighting as hard as I know how for you.
"And, Seattle, I've kept that promise."
The money raised by Obama Thursday--which had to be staggering to average folks given the three separate events and price tags associated with attending them--will go to the President's "Obama Victory Fund," described as "a joint fundraising committee authorized by Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties."