President Obama raised money Tuesday from wealthy Democrats who have benefited from his policies and warned supporters in an email that if Republicans win both houses of Congress in the midterm elections, “the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”
Mr. Obama attended private fundraisers in New York City and in Greenwich, Connecticut. At the first event, about 25 donors paid up to $32,400 each to attend a closed-door discussion with the president. The events brought to 56 the total number of Democratic fundraisers that Mr. Obama has attended this year.
While mingling with the high rollers of his party, Mr. Obama solicited small donations for House Democrats in an email. He told supporters that “Republican groups are spending massive sums against us.”
“If the Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for,” Mr. Obama said. “Once again, the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class.”
However, millionaires and billionaires have done especially well under Mr. Obama. The number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more reached 9.63 million in 2013, up by 600,000 from the previous year. The Spectrum Group said there were 6.7 millionaires in 2008, before Mr. Obama took office.
The wealthiest 1 percent of Americans received 22.46 percent of the nation’s total income in 2012. In 2009, Mr. Obama’s first year in office, the top 1 percent received 18.12 percent of all income.
During that same period, income for the bottom 99 shrank by 0.4 percent, according to research by Emmanuel Saez, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley.
The president has been calling for two years for Congress to approve an increase in the federal minimum wage, and 13 states have raised their minimum wages. In a speech on the economy last week, Mr. Obama said his policies reflect “a pro-business agenda.”
“Corporate debt is down. Profits are up. Businesses are doing good,” he said.
At one of the fundraisers Tuesday, Mr. Obama blamed Republicans for the lack of progress among America’s middle class.
“We have achieved so much, but we still have so much to do,” he said. “So far, we can’t get Republicans to cooperate.”
The president also said the public is largely unaware of his successes because the cynical news media won’t tell the real story.
“The reason you don’t hear about them is they elicit hope,” Mr. Obama said. “They’re good news.”
The fundraiser in Connecticut was held near the Greenwich Polo Club at the home of Rich Richman, chairman of one of the largest owners and developers of rental housing in the nation.