An Obama campaign spokeswoman on Monday said the president simply was having a “light moment” when he decided to poke some fun at himself the night before, acknowledging at a star-studded fundraiser that he botched the first debate against Republican challenger Mitt Romney last week.
Addressing an elite group of supporters at the Nokia Theater after a concert at which Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Jon Bon Jovi, Katy Perry and Earth, Wind & Fire performed, Mr. Obama thanked the entertainers for their flawless presentations before adding, “I can’t always say the same.”
With polls showing the race tightening to a neck-and-neck contest after Wednesday’s debate, Mr. Obama’s self-deprecating comment was weightier than his campaign would like to admit.
Jen Psaki, Mr. Obama’s traveling campaign spokeswoman, told reporters that the campaign always expected the race to tighten in the final weeks, noting that Mr. Obama raised more than the $12 million that Team Romney said it raised in the 48 hours after the debate, although she would not say how much more.
On a two-day fundraising swing through California, Mr. Obama on Sunday touted new positive economic numbers.
“On Friday we found out the unemployment rate has fallen from the height of 10 percent to 7.8 percent, the lowest since I took office,” Mr. Obama said. “Manufacturing is coming back.”
Before the concert at Nokia Theater, former President Bill Clinton joined Mr. Obama at an exclusive event at the home of Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, where the pair mingled with a group of wealthy donors.
Later that evening, Mr. Obama also attended a $25,000 per person party for 150 supporters at Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 in the Ritz Carlton. After announcing the establishment of the Cesar Chavez monument in Keene, Calif., on Monday, the president will head to San Francisco for three more fundraising events.