Acknowledging global unrest, Obama forges ahead with fundraising swing
July 23rd, 2014
01:11 AM ET
9 years ago

Acknowledging global unrest, Obama forges ahead with fundraising swing


SEATTLE (CNN) - As President Barack Obama helped Democrats bank millions in campaign cash on Tuesday, he acknowledged his administration is confronting "some big overseas challenges" in the Middle East, Ukraine and elsewhere.

Speaking at a fundraiser in a wealthy enclave of Seattle, Obama said there is a sense among Americans "that around the world the old order isn't holding and we're not quite where we need to be in terms of a new order that's based on a different set of principles."

Overseas, Israel continues its ground invasion of Gaza and investigators continue to probe the downing of a Malaysia Air jetliner over Ukraine. Some Republicans and pundits have chastised Obama for maintaining his three-day fundraising swing on the West Coast, though his aides argue the President can do his job from anywhere.

Before he left for Seattle on Tuesday, Obama signed a condolence book at the Dutch embassy in Washington, and he phoned Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on his flight west. Even when he landed, global flash points weren't out of sight - dozens of protesters greeted him at his first fundraiser, chanting "Free Palestine" and "It's time for Israel to pay for its crimes."

Over the weekend, Republicans were harshly critical of Obama for keeping up his schedule of fundraisers for Democrats, which will pull in millions of dollars over three days.

Based on descriptions of Obama's fundraisers from Democratic officials, Obama could raise north of $6 million during the trip. That figure is based on estimates of attendance at Obama's six fundraisers, using the highest in a range of possible ticket prices.

Republicans said it sends the wrong message for the President to be engaged in starkly political activities during times of crisis, pointing back to instances in the past when Obama has raised money for Democrats while domestic and foreign crises unfolded.

Obama first learned of the Malaysia Air crash during a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the White House Thursday, deciding afterward to stick to his pre-planned schedule that including the fundraising events in New York.

White House officials maintain it was the right decision for Obama to stick to his plans that day, which also included a stop for hamburgers in Delaware.
Josh Earnest, Obama's press secretary, said Tuesday Obama would return to Washington "if it becomes clear that there is something that the President is not able to do from the road that is critical to advancing American interests."

But he said Obama could accomplish nearly everything he would otherwise do at the White House on the road.

"He's got his own airplane. He's got dedicated phone lines. He has senior advisers who will be accompanying him every step of the way to make sure that he has access to the information and technology necessary to represent American interests in the midst of these challenging international times," Earnest said.

The White House did nix an appearance on ABC's late night show "Jimmy Kimmel Live," saying the timing wasn't right.

Obama will raise money for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and two super PACs dedicated to electing Democrats to Congress during his stops in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles he'll pass the hat at the home of "Scandal" creator Shonda Rhimes.

In Seattle, residents said they're more concerned about the wildfires raging in the interior of Washington state than the crisis in Gaza or the plane crash in Ukraine. Fueled by a dry, hot summer, fires are spanning almost 250,000 acres and driving hundreds of people from their homes.

Obama was briefed on the situation Tuesday by Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee, who rode in Obama's motorcade for the 20-minute drive from the airport to Obama's first fundraiser.

The president also made a call to the family of a retired state trooper, who died of an apparent heart attack trying to save his home from the fire.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. MaryM

    From some of the comments here it is apparent fundraising by past Presidents is ok, just not this President.
    GOT IT !!

    July 23, 2014 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    This kind of critique with todays technology and Airforce one (set up in the most dangerous of crises) to become the whitehouse gosh ever Heard of multiple location teleconferencing with anywhere in the world. And republicans behaving as they do at the moment if he went abroad he'd criticised for not paying attention to the fires in Washington state Yawn/LOL.
    They seem to be worried that he might have too much money on behalf of democrats for the upcoming campaigns.
    And what is Boehner et al going to be doing shortly and for that matter why is not congress still in session to deal with immigration reform, minimum wage and EITC legislation. ooops for got they need to campaign and raise money!?

    July 23, 2014 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  3. Colin Dransfield

    The disappointing aspect of the President's approach to the multitude of geopolictical flash points breaking out all over the world, is that he doesn't seem willing to personally take responsibility for either creating them in the first place or acting decisively to fix them. Instead he apparently believes that a "small ball" game is the right formula for keeping in line wayward leaders & terrorists. Its worth noting that through the course of recent history from Harry Truman to JFK & Ronald Reagan American Presidents have successfully adopted the doctrine of peace through strength. President Obama from early on in his presidency adopted a hear no evil see no evil approach, deciding not to take decisive action against Assad in the Syrian conflict or Putin's annexation of Crimea & allowing Iran to continue its nuclear weapons program. President Obama mistakenly told the American people in the run up to the 2012 federal election, that with Bin Laden dead & Al-Qeada decimated the War on Terror was effectvely over. It was only a few short weeks later that US Ambassador Stevens was killed in Lybia in an unprotected dipolmatic post after the Military was stood down & Al-Qeada affiliates allowed to run riot, killing the four brave Americans who attempted to defend the consulate & its Ambassador. Following the withdrawal of American troops in 2011 & in the vacum created, Iraq has descended into chaos, overun by sectarian violence & an unprecented level of extreme terrorism. In 2008 the USA took a sharp turn to the pacifist left in electing its first ever African American president. In 2014 the chickens have come home to roost and the world is ablaze with geopolictcal conflict. In 2016 a strong leader must step foward to once again establish the peace through strength doctrine so effectively employed by former US President's Truman, Kennedy & Reagan.

    July 23, 2014 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  4. Brian in TX

    No big deal. Mr. President. Most of us intelligent people understand that your job is a 24/7/365 job, Air Force One is a flying White House, and you can run the country from there. So no worries...we have your back.

    July 23, 2014 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  5. Crazy

    CNN on Obama: "Acknowledging global unrest, Obama forges ahead with fundraising swing"

    CNN on Bush: "Acknowledging global unrest, Bush sits idly by as children die, villages burn, disease spreads, etc."


    We are dealing with the most dangerous president in our history and you promote him??? I'm not a republican and I see this clearly, as do most others!!!

    July 23, 2014 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  6. sam

    At least he can walk and chew gum at the same time. The point is, regardless of what the president does there will be people who will voice out criticism. Moreover, some world events are beyond the control of the United States and as such the president. Israel and the Palestine have been fighting for 1000s of years and I for once do not believe that this president or any other president for that matter can stop this feud.

    July 23, 2014 04:56 am at 4:56 am |
  7. Mike SniffinObutte

    – Thiusands of illegal immigrants flooding across the border looking for Ovama's promises of Amnesty, tax-paid food, tax-paid healthcare, and tax-paid education.

    – Russia taking over the Ukraine with possible involvement in shooting down a civilian airliner

    – China strong-arming US allies in the Pacific

    – Domestic: thousands of US vets not getting the treatment they need

    – Domestic: still the lowest employee participation rate in decades

    – Domestic: highest food stamp participation rate in decades

    – Domestic w/ international implications: US debt above $17 Trillion

    – etc., etc., etc.

    Obama's solution: Fundraising, golf, and blaming everyone else. What do you expect from an "Amatuer" Community Organizer.

    July 23, 2014 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  8. Free Man in the Republic of Texas

    "I" have "My" priorities

    Campaign CASH. PERIOD

    Oath of Office ???
    Oh... "that" is just something that you "say"
    at the photo-op the day you start the "job"

    July 23, 2014 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  9. Marie MD

    To the haters, see post about your demi Hollywood god ronnie who took four days to return to DC from CA AMERICANS shot down an Iranian passenger plane.
    Life goes on but at least Obama is not hiding in his ranch. Oh right, he doesn't have those millions that the B actor had.,

    July 23, 2014 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  10. Hector Slagg

    The Rich ain't payin' their fair share? No wonder. They are spendin' it on election gimmicks.

    July 23, 2014 06:53 am at 6:53 am |
  11. reggie53

    That is what Obama's knows best....fundraising.....he is the Fundraiser in Chief. Imagine our president's main concern is to raise funds for the democrat party rather than to help create jobs for the unemployed people of America. I am really sorry for the American people!!!!!!!

    July 23, 2014 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  12. DroneAlone

    Obama parties while the world burns...

    If you believe the hope and change slogan you can keep the hope and change slogan... Period!

    July 23, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |