Obama fundraising trips influence meeting site with Chinese president
As President Obama focuses on more fundraising for Democrats, the White House said it even arranged for next week’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to take place in California instead of Washington because Mr. Obama has fundraisers scheduled in the Golden State.
That “domestic travel” includes a $32,400-per-head fundraiser June 6 at the Portola Valley, Calif., home of a venture capitalist, and a reception in Palo Alto, with the money to benefit Democratic Senate candidates. The president also will attend a Democratic National Committee fundraiser June 7 in Los Angeles.
The meeting with Mr. Xi will take place June 7-8 at Sunnylands, the Southern California estate of the late publishing tycoon Walter Annenberg. Asked why the meeting won’t be in Washington, the usual location for discussions with heads of state, Mr. Carney said “California is closer to Asia.”
“California became a useful place for and a good place to have this meeting,” he said. Mr. Carney said cybersecurity and recent reports of Chinese hacking of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems will be a top priority of Mr. Obama during the talks.
Mr. Obama flew from Washington to Chicago on Air Force One on Wednesday afternoon for two fundraisers to benefit House Democratic candidates, while first lady Michelle Obama rallied Democrats in Massachusetts for Rep. Edward J. Markey, a candidate for U.S. Senate in a special election to be held next month. Mrs. Obama said electing more Democrats will enable the president to pass gun control, climate change legislation and immigration reform.
“My husband can’t do it alone,” Mrs. Obama said. “He absolutely needs folks like Ed Markey in the Senate to make it happen. Keep on writing those checks. And if you haven’t maxed out, max out. And get your friends to max out. We got a few more weeks. Get the money in.”
Mr. Obama, whose administration is under fire for the IRS targeting conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, also sent out an email under his own name Wednesday on behalf of Organizing for Action, the reincarnation of his re-election campaign operation. The group hasn’t sought tax-exempt status yet but is expected to apply as a 501(c)4 operation, the same “social welfare” classification as conservative groups that say they were harassed by the IRS.
The email signed by Mr. Obama doesn’t directly solicit money for Organizing for Action, but it does lead recipients to a website that includes an option of donating up to $1,000 to the organization.
In the note, the president said the group “isn’t like any other organization.”
“Its task is to help restore the balance of power in government,” Mr. Obama said. “Organizing for Action is about discovering whether ordinary people can reclaim the process of legislating from special-interest groups and lobbyists, and help give your friends and neighbors the voice they deserve in Washington. This project needs your support — I’m counting on you to be there for the fights ahead.”
He concluded the email with, “Let’s finish what we started. Thanks, Barack.”
The group bills itself as a nonpartisan organization, although it was started by Mr. Obama’s former campaign officials and is advocating for his policies.
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