Opinion: Just another Obama backyard chat with ordinary Americans at Alonzo Mourning’s Miami estate


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Continuing his cross-country series of casual backyard chats with ordinary Americans enduring difficult economic times, President Obama met with about 260 people Monday night in Miami.

The setting was the yard of NBA star Alonzo Mourning, who is getting by now in a 12,000-square-foot mansion with eight bedrooms on Biscayne Bay. The basketball player paid $12.75 million for the domicile, which at the time made it one of the 15 most expensive homes ever sold in the county.

(Psst. Beforehand, Obama stopped off for some junk food. But don’t tell Michelle, who’s on a health food kick right now.)


They had a large tent set up for Mourning’s Monday’s night affair, which cost ordinary Americans $1,000 to get into the reception, or rich ordinary Americans $5,000 for the....

...dinner or a really-loaded pair of ordinary Americans $17,600 if they wanted a photo with the ordinary presidential you-know-who at the congressional fundraiser. He praised numerous Democrats, especially the area’s Rep. Ron Klein, who would like a third House term. With so many ordinary American professional athletes in the audience, the president also admitted, ‘I’m a pretty good point guard, but I can’t do it on my own.’

He reminisced about his $750-million presidential campaign and how he didn’t know then how very bad the nation’s economy was. But he noted the country lost 4 million jobs in the last six months of the Texan’s second term.

‘So,’ the current president said, ‘my first job coming into office was to make sure that we stabilized the economy.’ Ordinary Americans still among the millions of unemployed in the 9.6% official national number will be glad to know, in the president’s words, ‘We have done that.’ The recession is officially over.

Obama’s full 18-minute speech should be posted over here sometime Tuesday morning.

The Democrat did acknowledge there was ‘an enormous hole’ in the economy and said the American people are understandably frustrated and angry.

‘What the other side is trying to do,’ the Democrat said about the GOP, ‘is to ride that anger and that frustration all the way to the ballot box.’

And virtually every poll these days indicates that plan is working like a charm. In fact, while the president is racking up thousands of 747 frequent flyer miles on Air Force One, a new Gallup Poll out Monday shows most Americans disregarding his claims and shifting to the Republican side on Nov. 2. The good news in that is that at least Obama can show Nancy Pelosi he tried to save her speaker’s job.

All of which is why Obama and his fundraising partner, Joe Biden, are spending so little time in Washington in these last 21 days before the midterms.

They were both out in Philadelphia on Sunday, witnessing a streaker and everything. As a reward, Biden got to spend all day Monday back in Pennsylvania. And today the VP goes to talk some more in Iowa and then again in Illinois. All in an effort to preserve the large Democratic majorities that have controlled both houses of Congress since the 2006 midterm elections.

Next Sunday Obama and his wife will be in Columbus, Ohio, and then he’ll carbon-footprint it again out to Las Vegas and Los Angeles on Oct. 22 to try to help two embattled senators, Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer.

In a shorter speech at another party fundraiser in Miami Monday, Obama called the GOP’s ‘Pledge to America’ the ‘same snake oil.’ Obama also said he really did want to get the budget under control, ‘but I don’t want to do it on the backs of folks who need it the most.’

The president portrayed himself as virtually helpless to make progress in the face of opposition from the Republican minority. He also re-recounted a favorite stump story as if Republicans had been controlling anything in Washington these last two years. He describes the GOP as driving the country as a car into a ditch and banging things up a bit and now wanting the keys back.

‘We got room in the back,’ President Obama said, describing his view of bipartisanship, ‘but we don’t want their hands on the wheel.’

-- Andrew Malcolm

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