But after spending half a decade in the minority, confounding Obama’s efforts to push his legislative agenda through Congress, Democrats have resolved to try. They’re eyeing potential pickups in places like Florida and Texas and courting moderate, outsider candidates they believe they can sell as more pragmatic than incumbent Republicans.
Although criticized by some in his party for doing too little to help the cause in his first term, Obama has shown himself to be a formidable fundraising force. He raised $3.25 million for House Democrats last month at fundraisers in San Francisco — among the 20 or so events Obama has agreed to headline ahead of the 2014 elections for House Democrats, Senate Democrats and the Democratic National Committee, which is still retiring debt the party racked up helping Obama get re-elected last year.
First lady Michelle Obama got in on the action Wednesday, too, raising cash in Massachusetts for a Democrat running in a special election for a Senate seat, then dashing off to New York for a pair of fundraisers for the DNC.
At one event along Central Park, the DNC’s annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender gala, Mrs. Obama was joined by singer Sara Bareilles and by NBA player Jason Collins, who the president praised effusively in April after he became the first active player in one of the four major U.S. pro sports leagues to come out as gay. About 350 people attended, with tickets ranging from $1,250 to $32,400.
Obama’s Chicago stops also attracted a number of protesters, whose muffled chants could be heard as he arrived at the hotel for the first event. Groups that had planned protests near the fundraisers included anti-abortion activists, environmentalists urging Obama to nix the Keystone XL pipeline and immigration advocates opposing deportations by the Obama administration.
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