Miami (CNN) – At a fundraiser in Florida on Wednesday, President Barack Obama praised the U.S. Senate on its success moving forward to a debate on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, telling donors the procedural move is a great step towards passing a bipartisan bill.
“I’m pleased to see that we got a good vote this week so far on immigration,” the president said, citing it as a rare example of bipartisanship in today’s politics. “That immigration bill is on the floor, and I think we have an enormous opportunity to get a bipartisan immigration bill done. And that will be not just an enormous political achievement, but an important economic foundation for us to continue to attract the best and the brightest from all around the world.”
That type of bipartisanship is too rare, the president continued, and he blamed Republicans for being “more interested in winning the next election than helping the next generation.”
The remarks came at a dinner hosted by Lumber Liquidators founder Tom Sullivan, the first of two events the president attended in Miami Beach to help raise money for the Democratic National Committee. During dinner at Sullivan’s home, the president spoke to roughly 50 guests and encouraged them to help make his job easier by supporting Congressional Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.
“We’ve still got an awful lot of work to do,” Obama said, citing education reform, climate change, college affordability and U.S. manufacturing as issues that need to be addressed in his second term. “But I can’t do it by myself. I’ve got to have partners.”
And today’s Democratic Party, the president said, best represents America’s values when it comes to these important issues.
“That hasn’t always been the case,” Obama said. “I come from Illinois, and we had a pretty good Republican President named Lincoln.”
Straddling the line between president and head of the Democratic Party, Obama vowed to keep reaching across the aisle to engage Republicans in the search for solutions.
“I will spend the next three-and-a-half years doing everything I can to work with anybody - Democrat, Republican or independent - to advance the cause of middle-class families and everybody who’s willing to work hard to get into the middle class,” Obama said to applause. “I will be doing that, but I tell you what, it would be a lot easier if I had a Democratic House and a Democratic Senate to do it.”
The president’s second stop in Miami was a reception at the home of philanthropist Joe Blount, where he delivered similar remarks before roughly 175 supporters. Tickets to both the dinner and the reception ranged from $1,000 to $32,000.