Washington (CNN) – In a speech aimed at rallying his party's base, President Obama painted Republicans as only focused on "opportunity for a few" in an address laying out his vision for the midterm elections to fellow Democrats Friday night.
In a return to his "year of action" theme, the President discussed the upcoming release of his 2015 budget as well as what he thinks the party should be fighting for during remarks to the Democratic National Committee's Winter Meeting here in the nation's capital.
"The choice could not be clearer. Opportunity for a few or opportunity for all, that’s what this election is about. As Democrats, we have a different idea of what the future looks like – an idea rooted in our conviction that our economy grows best not from the top down, but from the middle out. That’s what an opportunity agenda offers," Obama said.
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The President also continued to tout his 2014 approach to use executive actions to pursue his agenda.
"Obviously this is an election year. But an election that’s eight months away shouldn’t stop us from making progress right now. There are things that we could be doing right now to help the American people. And we shouldn’t be doing nothing because there’s an election coming up. I’ve said I want to work with Congress wherever I can – and there are places we can work together to get things done. But I’ve also shown that in this year of action, whenever I can act on my own to expand opportunity for more Americans, I will." Obama said.
In what may be a first for a sitting president, Obama also extended his authority into the discounted liquor arena.
“It’s Friday, it’s after 5 o’clock so this is now officially happy hour with the Democratic Party. I can do that, it is an executive action. I have the authority,” Obama said to a largely friendly audience that met his comment with cheers and laughter.
However, there was one unfriendly moment when a heckler interrupted him.
"Mr. Obama, tell us about your nuclear plan in Russia!" the heckler said according to a reporter authorized to cover the event for other news outlets.
Just an hour before the DNC event, Obama had made an unplanned statement at the White House about the volatile situation in Ukraine and the involvement of Russia’s military.
Obama had stated that he was "deeply concerned" by reports of Russian military movements inside Ukraine and that any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty would be "deeply destabilizing."
As the crowd at the DNC meeting applauded, Obama shouted back at the heckler.
“What the heck are you talking about?” Obama said. “I don't know about that plan, I don't know what you've been reading.”
“He thought happy hour started earlier,” Obama joked with the crowd.
Obama also focused on the budget, where he is proposing job creation efforts that are paid for in his administration's spending plan.
"Next week, I will send Congress a budget that will create new jobs in manufacturing, and energy, and innovation, and infrastructure. And we’ll pay for every dime of it by cutting unnecessary spending, closing wasteful tax loopholes," Obama will say.
“As Democrats we believe that instead of tax breaks for the few, we should make investments that make it better for everyone.”
That budget pitch also came with another jab at the GOP.
"Republicans have a different view - just last month their party actually made it a part of their platform to let folks at the very top play by a different set of rules, and avoid paying their fair share by stashing their money in overseas tax havens, a practice that also adds billions of dollars to our deficits every year," Obama said.
The President also accused Republicans of obstructing Democratic Party priorities.
"The Republican Party can keep telling the country what they’re against – they’re against the Affordable Care Act, they’re against the minimum wage, they’re against equal pay laws, they’re against commonsense immigration reform, they’re against the very existence of climate change. But Democrats, we’re going keep telling America what we’re for – from giving America a raise to getting America covered. Because the people we serve are not interested in leaders who are rooting for failure, they’re not interested in leaders who are only interested in fighting the old ideological battles. They want us focused on their lives; their hopes; their aspirations for their kids.”
Obama also addressed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He admitted there were “disruptions” but hit back hard against Republican response to the bill.
“We lost that first month out of the gate. We’ve worked hard to fix problems that have come up, without any cooperation from (Republicans). In fact they complained when we fix them. Well, how dare you fix the things we were complaining about? And then we take steps to fix it. You’re a tyrant, you’re overreaching,” Obama said.
“Republicans in Congress have been obsessed with one thing above all else – no, not Ted Nugent - they have been obsessed with repealing the Affordable Care Act. You know what they say, 50th time is the charm. Maybe when you hit your 50th repeal vote, you will win a prize,” Obama said.
According to a new CNN Poll of Polls, compiled and released Friday, the President's approval rating has dropped 10 points from a year ago. The CNN Poll of Polls, which averages the most recent non-partisan, live-operator national surveys, indicates that 42% of Americans approve of the job he is doing. In February 2013, Obama's approval rating stood at 52%.
The President's remarks to the DNC come one day after Vice President Joe Biden gave a pep talk to party officials, urging Democrats to go on offense as the 2014 midterm election season heats up and adding that "my central message to you is look: I think we should not apologize for a single thing."
Democrats hold a 55-45 majority in the Senate (53 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party), but are defending 21 of the 36 seats up in November, with half of those Democratic-held seats located in red or purple states.
In the House, Democrats need to pick up 17 GOP-held seats to win back control of the Republican-led chamber, a feat political handicappers say is unlikely considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts.
CNN Senior White House Producer Matt Hoye, CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser and CNN's Cassie Spodak contributed to this report.