Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said yesterday, “I’m not going to tell the president what to do, but I think the world would very much respect his increased attention on this matter, and I think there ought to be increased attention.’
Fundraiser in Chief?
- President Barack Obama will attend a string of events in Washington in California benefiting Democrats throughout the next three days
- But even members of the president’s own political party are growing concerned about the optics of his trip
- This is the second set of fundraisers Obama has attended since MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week
- The White House says Obama can ‘fulfill his responsibilities’ from anywhere but will come back to Washington if need be
President Barack Obama will embark on another fundraising trip today – his second since the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 – leading a top Democrat to join the chorus of lawmakers voicing concerns that the Commander in Chief’s priorities are misplaced.
Asked about Obama’s three-day fundraising swing down the West Coast this week, California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said yesterday that the president ought to put more energy into working with the international community to tackle the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, the Ukraine and Gaza.
‘This is a very hard time,’ she told MSNBC. ‘I’m not going to tell the president what to do, but I think the world would very much respect his increased attention on this matter, and I think there ought to be increased attention.’
After learning of the Malaysia Airlines crash last week, the president grabbed a burger and gave two speeches to donors in New York.
The White House said the president talked to the relevant world leaders on the phone during his trip to New York on Air Force One and spoke with Secretary of State John Kerry and his national security team on the ground before continuing on to the fundraisers.
But that wasn’t enough for Arizona Sen. John McCain, who sits on the Armed Services committee.
‘I don’t understand this president … this is what we used to call in the military A-W-O-L,’ McCain, a former military POW told Fox News. ‘There’s a direct loss of American lives here and the president goes to a fundraiser? Help me out.’
It was later determined that only one American was among the 298 people killed with the plane that was shot down over the Ukraine but that information had not yet been disclosed at the time of McCain’s remarks.
This afternoon President Obama will depart for Seattle, Washington, where he will stop by two events benefiting Democrats, then rush off to California for two more days of fundraising.
The first fundraiser is being hosted by real estate mogul and former Obama campaign bundler Bruce Blume and his wife Ann.
NO KIMMEL APPEARANCE FOR OBAMA
The White House repudiated a report yesterday from TMZ that President Obama would be appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Wednesday during his trip to Hollywood.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest confirmed to the LA Times that Kimmel had invited Obama on the show but claimed the White House declined his offer.
‘In advance of the trip, we’ve been in touch with Kimmel’s folks about the president doing his show,’ Earnest said.
‘We elected not to do it this time, but hope we can arrange to do it in the near future.’
The Democratic National Committee event will be held at their 10,000 square foot mansion in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood in the Puget Sound area. Roughly 250 guests will attend the event, with tickets costing $500 – $10,000 a person.
The second Seattle event will take place at former Costco CEO Jim Sinegal’s home at Hunt’s Point and is co-hosted by Tom and Sonya Campion.
Tom Campion is the founder of Zumiez, a clothing store for skaters. Sinegal spoke in favor of Obama’s economic policies at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The $25,0000 a head fundraiser is being held on behalf of Senate Majority PAC, a political action committee working to help Democrats keep control of the Senate.
Obama will only be in Washington long enough to disrupt rush hour traffic before he flies off to San Francisco, where he plans to attend a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee event on Wednesday hosted by real estate developer George Marcus.
Entry to the Los Altos Hills events ranges from $10,000 a person to $32,400 a couple.
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- ‘What exactly are they trying to hide?’: Obama condemns Putin for failing to stop Russian-backed rebels from ‘tampering’ with evidence and bodies at MH17 crash site
The following day he leaves the Bay Area for Hollywood. There, he’ll attend two Democratic National Committee fundraisers – the first of which is at the Hancock Park home of Scandal creator Shonda Rhimes – and give a speech on the economy at the Los Angeles Trade-Technical College before retuning to Washington, D.C. on Thursday night.
OBAMA DROPS BY THE NETHERLANDS EMBASSY TO GIVE HIS CONDOLENCES
President Obama made an unscheduled stop at the Dutch embassy this morning to sign the country’s condolence book.
In his note Obama said: ‘On behalf of the American people, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of the Netherlands as they mourn the loss of so many family and friends.
‘No words can adequately express the sorrow the world feels over this loss. It is made more acute by the deep ties of friendship between our two countries.
‘Bound by that friendship, we will not rest until we are certain that justice is done.’
Tickets to the Rhimes event, which is being co-hosted by Scandal star Kerry Washington, start at $1,000. Attendees who want to have their photo taken with Obama will have to pay the standard $10,000 a person fee. To be a host, one must max out to the DNC at $32,400.
Obama is also slated to participate in a roundtable discussion with 30 Democratic donors at Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino’s home before traveling he leaves Los Angeles. Tickets to the intimate event with the president are also $32,400.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, this week marks Obama’s nineteenth trip to the L.A. area since he took office in 2009 and his third trip there in the last months.
Before Obama’s recent stretch of fundraisers, CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller determined that Obama had attended 393 fundraisers from the time he took office through the beginning of July. At the same point in George W. Bush’s presidency, Knoller says Bush had only appeared at 216.
Typically, the president is greeted by Senator Diane Feinstein when he travels to California, as pictured here in November. Feinstein won’t be on hand today when the president visits her home state, however. Feinstein said yesterday Obama ought to pay ‘increased attention’ to global conflicts
The White House pushed back on suggestions yesterday that the President Obama should consider cutting back on his fundraising schedule until conflicts abroad die down.
‘As was demonstrated last week when the President was on the road and two of these crises flared up, the President was able to fulfill his responsibilities as Commander-in-Chief and as the leader of this country from the road,’ White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.
‘The President’s top priority and the top priority of the staff here at the White House,’ Earnest said, ‘is making sure that the President is able to do his job in terms of managing the United States’ involvement in these crises. ‘
Earnest noted that Obama travels with staff and communications equipment and ‘fulfill his responsibilities’ from anywhere.
‘And if it becomes clear that there’s a need for him to come back to the White House in order to fulfill those functions, then we’ll make a change in his schedule,’ Earnest concluded. ‘Right now it’s not apparent that that’s the case.’
Likewise, White House Communications Director,Jennifer Palmieri the told The New York Times: ‘It is rarely a good idea to return to the White House just for show when the situation can be handled from the road.’
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle yesterday that she doesn’t think the president is ‘kind of remote,’ as he put it, but if others do, that signals a problem.
‘While I disagree with the characterization, if that’s the impression people have, then communication has to be stepped up,’ she said.
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