President Obama appeared Thursday night at the Hancock Park home of entertainment lawyer Aaron Rosenberg and “Scorpion” executive producer Danny Rose for a reception, concert and fundraiser for about 340 people.
“I still have an enormous amount I want to get done,” Obama said, rattling off different lengths of time for how much longer he’ll be in office and joking that someone is keeping track.
Obama said he keeps a checklist in his desk of campaign promises he made. "We haven’t gotten 100% of what I wanted to get done. But we got about 80,” he said.
“Our work is not done,” Obama told the donors, “but if we look at what we’ve accomplished over the last seven years, it should fortify us.”
The president cited climate change, health insurance, and lesbian and gay rights as areas where there was work still to be done.
The event took place as the Democrats hoping to replace Obama in the White House were debating in Wisconsin and arguing over who had been more loyal to the president.
Obama chose instead to address the rhetoric coming from Republican hopefuls in the race.
“You’re seeing in our election cycle a lot of anger and frustration,” he said. “Some of it is manufactured for political purposes, some of it is hype. But the frustrations are there, and they are real.”
“There are people who are afraid,” he continued in what was a 19-minute speech. “They watch the evening news: what’s happening in Syria and other troubled parts of the world. ... Fear, if not unaddressed, if not channeled, can result in some pretty ugly politics.”
Guests sat under white tents in the yard of Rose and Rosenberg’s home on Rossmore Avenue. Each tent had a chandelier hanging from the peak.
Before the president spoke, all talking came to an abrupt stop as John Legend, a longtime Obama supporter, took a seat behind a baby grand piano and sang Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” and his own hit “All of Me.”
Before Obama came to the stage, Rose and Rosenberg welcomed the guests and praised the president.
“Mr. President, on behalf of all of us here, thank you,” Rosenberg said.
Obama got a standing ovation from the crowd before he even took the stage. People held their cellphones above the crowd for a photo as other clapped above their heads. A small child yelled, “Hi! Hi!”
When outlining the work that he considers unfinished, Obama pointed to needs in Los Angeles. "Right now as we speak there are children in this city who have no place to sleep,” he said.
Obama thanked Legend and his wife, Chrissy Teigen, for their support.
“He’s just a good man and Chrissy is just a wonderful woman,” he said. “And I’m going to give him tips about raising girls.”
He also pointed out other long-term supporters in attendance. "There are a lot of people here who invested early in me,” he said.
Reporters observing the event spotted about a dozen well-dressed children among the crowd, gold linen cloths on the tables and a purple backlit stage where Legend performed.
A guest who spoke with The Times complimented the French Rose wine and the appetizers. She said that Legend came out to mingle with the crowd and took photos before the president arrived.
According to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Times, the Democratic National Committee event has a range of prices, starting at $1,000 as a “guest” and going up to $33,400 for a couple to be co-hosts, have VIP seating and attend a reception with a presidential photo line.
Some of the money goes to the Democratic Hope Fund and to help retire Obama’s campaign debt.
Obama went next to another Hancock Park fundraiser hosted at the home of Leah and Sam Fischer. This was a more intimate $10,000-per-person “discussion and dinner.”
According to a copy of an invitation obtained by The Times, the Democratic National Committee event is described as “a thoughtful and informative experience.”
At the start of the event, Obama joked that he’s been to a lot of Southern California homes, but this one he would like to buy. “Sold!” a woman in the crowd repeatedly yelled.
A few dozen people sat in the small wood-paneled room with linen-covered tables spaced tighter together than tables at an official White House state dinner.
In brief remarks before taking questions, Obama said the United States is better off now than when he took office. “We have moved that needle forward,” he said. He said to sustain that, Democrats needed to win back the Senate, reduce the Republican majority in the House and hold onto the White House.