Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
SEATTLE (AP) — President Barack Obama offered a rare self-assessment Sunday night while criticizing congressional Republicans as an "impediment" to governing during the start of a West Coast fundraising tour for the Democratic Party.
President Barack Obama waves after arriving Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Obama is traveling on a three day West Coast swing to Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles that will feature a bit of official business but mostly fundraising for the Democratic party. (Image source: AP/Elaine Thompson)
He also attempted to contrast himself with Republicans who control the House of Representatives, saying they are "more focused on positioning themselves for the next election."
"I'm not a particularly ideological person," Obama said, somewhat echoing a statement he made earlier this month during a speech campaigning for then-candidate for Virginia governor, Terry McAuliffe (“There are very real consequences when you operate ideologically, the way some of these folks do,” he said Nov. 3, pointing to the Tea Party).
Obama added Sunday that while he's still passionate about giving people a fair shake, about the environment, and working for peace and national security, he's also "pretty pragmatic about how we get there."
Money, star power and Hollywood awaited the president on this trip, which featured a bit of official business, but mostly fundraising for a Democratic Party eager to go on offense after a politically debilitating two months.
Obama arrived Sunday evening in Seattle. He also planned stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, raising money for House and Senate Democrats as well as the national party.
High-profile events on the schedule include a reception at the home of retired basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson and his wife, Cookie, in Beverly Hills, Calif., and one at the house of Marta Kauffman, co-creator of television's "Friends."
Accompanied by House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California, Obama attended a reception and dinner Sunday at the home of former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley.
Though he professed he was not looking for the defeat of another party, he said the country needs Pelosi to be House speaker again.
The money raised — $32,400 per couple — went to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which benefits House Democrats.
The trip comes as Obama's health care law approaches a crucial Nov. 30 deadline for an improved insurance enrollment website whose catastrophic start Oct. 1 dealt a serious political blow to the White House. Also, the U.S. and other world powers just sealed a historic deal with Iran for a temporary freeze of its nuclear program.