Obama tries to fire up frustrated supporters
WASHINGTON (AP) — Angling for a second term, President Barack Obama tried to fire up supporters Monday night, saying failure to get everything they want as fast as they want should motivate and not dissuade them.
Liberals and other key Obama supporters have voiced frustration with the president on a number of issues, from his compromise with Republicans on tax cuts to failure to deliver a promised overhaul of the immigration system.
Obama acknowledged the lengthy to-do list ahead, but he said his accomplishments to date show that change is possible. The message to supporters: Don't give up just yet.
"When you think back to these last two and a half years, I want you to do so not with complacency, not with full satisfaction, but I want it to motivate you," Obama told about 600 supporters at a campaign fundraiser at the Capital Hilton. "Don't let people tell you that we can't bring about change. We have already brought about change."
Obama also spoke at a dinner with about 60 high-dollar donors at the St. Regis hotel.
Recalling his election-night speech in Chicago's Grant Park in 2008, Obama said he told everyone at the time that his winning the presidency wasn't the end but the beginning. He said he wants to leave behind for future generations an America that is strong and vibrant, yet compassionate and capable of doing big things.
"We're just a quarter of the way through," Obama said, sounding almost as if he was assured of a second term. "We've got to finish our task."
Obama was introduced at the second event by Little Rock Nine member Ernie Green, one of the first black students to attend racially segregated Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., in 1957. Green enthusiastically praised Obama for his leadership on the economy, health care and foreign policy.
"I don't know any American who didn't stand a little taller on May 1 as you led us through a successful mission," Green said, referring to the U.S. military raid in Pakistan that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden.
Tuesday is the 57th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in which the Supreme Court found that state laws that created separate schools for blacks and whites were unconstitutional.
Three years later, in 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered the Army and the Arkansas National Guard to protect Green and eight classmates as they entered Central High. Arkansas Gov. Orval Fabus had refused to comply with the Supreme Court decision.
Tickets for both campaign events ranged from $44 to the maximum legal limit of $35,800.