President Barack Obama addressed a group of donors Tuesday night at a fundraiser for Senate Democrats, who are hoping to maintain their majority in the upcoming midterm elections.
The Democrats gathered at the home of former Sen. Chuck Robb and Lynda Robb in McLean, Va. Sen. Michael Bennet, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, and Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner attended the event, where tickets ranged from $10,000 to $32,400, a DSCC official said.
According to a transcript of his remarks, Obama stressed the importance of the midterm elections, pledging to “spend a lot of time and energy” supporting Democratic candidates. The president said Democrats must passionately support their candidates, especially since midterm elections typically have lower voter turnout rates.
Referring to the 2010 midterms, when Democrats lost their House majority and a half-dozen Senate seats, Obama said, “We paid a dear price for not paying enough attention to these midterm elections. We cannot repeat the same mistake this year.”
“And all I want to do is just emphasize the degree to which everything you all care about — advancing every issue that is of deep concern to you — depends on us successfully maintaining Democratic control of the Senate,” the president said.
Obama listed a number of policies he believes are at risk should Democrats lose the majority, including measures that focus on creating jobs, raising the minimum wage, reforming education, developing a tax overhaul and addressing climate change. Obama also noted the Senate’s unique jurisdiction over the judicial branch, saying, “If you care about ... who is in the Supreme Court determining those laws, you better hope Democrats stay in the Senate.”
The president also compared Senate Democrats to their Republican counterparts. “I know the Democrats in our Senate, and they’re not a dogmatic bunch,” he said.
While he praised the patriotism of individual Republicans, he said a sect of the GOP is “spending most of their time trying to obstruct and grind the wheels of government to a halt.”
The president focused on the midterm elections Tuesday night, but he began his remarks by addressing the unfolding crisis in Ukraine.
“We now have a situation in which the Russians, I think, are engaging in a fundamental breach of international law. ... We may be able to de-escalate over the next several days and weeks, but it’s a serious situation and we’re spending a lot of time on it,” he said.
Obama’s remarks come at a time when the Senate is considering an aid package for Ukraine that could also include sanctions against Russia.