Michelle Obama’s DNC L.A. fundraiser: Barbra Streisand attends.

SHARE Michelle Obama’s DNC L.A. fundraiser: Barbra Streisand attends.

Thanks to Seema Mehta of the Los Angeles Times for this detailed pool report about First Lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Los Angeles on Wednesday. Mrs. Obama hits San Francisco for funders today and tomorrow.


FLOTUS spoke at the home of Phil Rosenthal, the creator of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” and his wife Monica Horan, an actress. The fundraiser benefiting the DNC was originally scheduled Oct. 11 but postponed because of the government shut-down.

The scene:

Gated community in Hancock Park featuring sprawling houses and manicured lawns. More than a dozen protestors stood outside the gates, protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The Rosenthal/Horan manse is Spanish-style and yellow with dark brown accents, lush greenery and potted citrus trees. The reception took place in a large courtyard lined with ivy and featuring a large koi pond. FLOTUS, wearing a black and white dress, spoke on a small stage under a tent, standing at a clear podium and reading from a teleprompter. A helicopter buzzed overhead for part of her remarks, which occurred once night fell and the air grew chilly.

About 200 people attended, holding glasses of champagne and wine as they stood around heat lamps and cocktail tables decorated with sprays of light pink roses and other flowers. There didn’t appear to be any food during the brief period your pooler was allowed in, but earlier, caterers from Pizzeria Mozza – the Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joseph Bastianich restaurant – were spotted loading spheres of dough into a large portable pizza oven near the garage/guest house.

Notable attendees – Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and his young daughter

Donation levels, per a DNC official:

$1,000 per person to attend the reception

$2,500 per couple for the reception and a picture

$4,000 per family of four for the reception and a picture

$10,000 per guest for the reception, a picture and a roundtable discussion (the roundtable was closed press)

$32,400 for all of the above functions, plus an intimate gathering with FLOTUS and other high-dollar donors.

Per a WH official, FLOTUS pre-taped a radio segment with Ryan Seacrest earlier Wednesday that is scheduled to air Thursday morning.

Remarks, which lasted just under 20 minutes:

[No news, tied the president’s goals in last night’s SOTU with why she believes it’s important for them to donate money during the mid-terms.]

“Just know it’s warmer here than it is anyplace else.”

Thanked the hosts and Garcetti for attending.

“Tonight I want to thank you for everything you have done for my husband and for so many other leaders who share our values. Thank you for being there for them year after year, election after election. I know it hasn’t been easy, this long journey, and it’s been a bit tiring at times. But if you ever wondered whether your support makes a difference, I just want you to take a moment to think about what Barack said in the state of the union last night. I want you to think about the vision he laid out for our future, think about everything he asked Congress to help us achieve during the next three years.”

Cited reducing gun violence, raising the federal minimum age, universal pre-k, “and so much more.”

“But you heard him last night. It was a good speech for a great president. That is how Barack wants to lift up the middle class and restore opportunity to everyone in this country. And make no mistake about it, when you hear us talking about the 2014 midterm elections, elections that are less than 10 months away, that’s what’s at stake. And what we need to ask ourselves is whether we will have leaders in Congress and across American that share our values and will work with Barack to move the country forward.”

She said that while they didn’t believe in handouts or a free ride, but believed that everyone deserved a fair shot, and one that would not be derailed if a person was diagnosed with an illness, or involved in a bad accident, or lost their job.

“When that happens, that shouldn’t mean falling off a cliff. That shouldn’t mean having to go without food or medicine or a roof over our heads, not here in the United States of America. That’s just not who we are.”

She spoke of her childhood growing up on the Southside of Chicago, being raised by hard-working parents who did not attend college. She said she was able to go to college and then law school because her father, who worked at a city water plant, was paid a fair wage.

“Let me tell you something, for a working class kid from the Southside of Chicago, being able to get my degree meant everything to me, everything. It was the foundation of my career, it was the launching pad of my dreams that let me a life for myself that my family and my parents never could have imagined for themselves.”

But she said she feared that children today do not have such opportunities.

“When we fail to invest in our young people, it doesn’t just limit their futures, it limits our country’s future as well. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think about the millions of kids who fall through the cracks of opportunity, because I can’t help but think how their story could have been my story.”

She said it was critical to help these young people to apply to and afford college, and to be able to find work with fair wages.

“But let’s be clear, Barack cannot do this alone sitting by himself in the Oval Office.”

She cited the stimulus, the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Affordable Care Act as examples where he needed the approval of Congress to pursue his agenda.

“So make no mistake about it, it matters who is elected to represent us in Washington. It matters.”

Right now, she said Democrats are 17 seats away from taking back control of the House, but six seats away from losing the Senate.

“What I want all of you to think about for just a minute is what could happen if we lose those six seats,” saying it could mean the repeal of the ACA, interference with a woman’s ability to obtain contraception, the banning of same-sex marriage, cutting off unemployment insurance.

“That’s just the beginning. Thirty-seven governor’s seats are up for grabs, nearly 3/4 of our state houses. We’ve got state legislatures in play, and remember, these are the folks who draw those congressional districts.”

“It’s simply not enough to elect Barack Obama president if we don’t also elect leaders in Congress and in our state houses who will work with him to keep making the change we all believe in.”

“So starting right now, today, we need to be as passionate and as hungry as we were in 2008 and 2012, in fact we need to be even more passionate and more hungry, because these races will be even harder and even closer than those presidential elections.”

She said mid-terms would be tighter because fewer voters participate, notably women, minorities and young people.

“So if we are truly serious about continuing to move this country forward, then we can’t just sit back and hope for the best and then be surprised and outraged when things don’t work out.”

“We need to be engaged right from the beginning and this is where all of you here tonight come in, this is your part, because there is something all of you can do right now, today, to make a difference…. You can write a check, do you hear me?”

The crowd laughed, and she continued, “That’s what you need to do, I’m serious, write a big fat check. Write the biggest check you can possibly write.” I know some of you may be tired of always being asked for money, and I understand, because it’s not always easy to ask you for it. But we do this because writing the checks is the single most impactful thing you can do right now to affect the outcome of those midterms.”

She said it wasn’t enough to have the “best candidates” if they didn’t have the resources to hire staff, open offices, knock on doors, make phone calls, advertise on television.

“It is not enough to simply stake out the moral high ground, feel good about ourselves and wait for things to turn out okay. We need to act.”

“We need you to max out today. Once you’ve given what you can we need you to get out there and volunteer. We know, our Obama supporters know that person to person contact, those calls and doors knocked on, all of that can also mean the difference between victory and defeat.”

She concluded her remarks by mentioning a young man named Troy from New Orleans, who she met at the college access summit at the White House. Troy grew up in a struggling family, skipped school and got into trouble, and couldn’t read or write at the age of 14. But he decided to turn his life around, sought out help to catch up on his education, and eventually college preparation programs. Troy is now a sophomore in college majoring in literature.

“There are so many young people just like Troy all across this country, young people who had it tough but are still so hungry to succeed, young people who are desperate to lift themselves up if we would just give them the chance, and that is why we are here tonight. That is why we need to work so hard between now and next November. And if you ever start to get tired and frustrated, if you ever think for one minute about giving up, I want you to think about all those folks who are counting on us, all those young people like Troy who deserve a shot at their dreams.”

Seema Mehta

Los Angeles Times

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