Obama looks to 2014 at W. Mount Airy fund-raiser

President Obama greets guests after his arrival at Philadelphia International Airport. He came to the city for a fund-raiser in West Mount Airy for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
President Obama greets guests after his arrival at Philadelphia International Airport. He came to the city for a fund-raiser in West Mount Airy for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. (PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS / AP)
Posted: November 16, 2013

President Obama headlined a big-bucks fund-raiser Thursday night at the Northwest Philadelphia home of Comcast Corp. executive David L. Cohen.

Obama spoke for about 10 minutes to the gathering of about 120 people at the event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) and emphasized the importance of a Democratic Congress when it comes to achieving policy goals.

"We have been blessed by a Democratic Senate," the president said. "That list of accomplishments is really a partnership."

Obama said that he had three years left in office and that "in addition to fixing a website" - which drew a huge laugh from the crowd - he wants to rebuild infrastructure and invest in early childhood education, among other goals.

"We've got to have a Democratic Senate to do it," he said, adding that in many states the DSCC faces a tough fight in 2014.

Obama said that Washington may seem polarized, but that the country at large is not necessarily so divided and that politicians have to "sync up that spirit of goodness."

The fund-raiser was held in a large white tent set up in the backyard of Cohen's stone house in West Mount Airy. Residents lined up along sidewalks to cheer the president's motorcade as it wound through the neighborhood.

The guests were just finishing up dinner when the president suddenly entered.

Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast and a longtime Democratic Party powerhouse, said the event raised $1 million for the DSCC. Obama nodded and mouthed, "Good job."

Diners at the $10,000- to $32,400-a-plate dinner included Sens. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania and Michael Bennet of Colorado, plus Mayor Nutter.

Introducing the president, Cohen referenced the Hebrew term dayenu, an expression of gratitude that means "it would have been enough."

He listed several accomplishments of the Obama administration, including repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and ending the war in Iraq, and after each, the crowd repeated: "Dayenu."

Obama offered his version for Cohen:

"If David and Rhonda [Cohen's wife] had just hosted one of my first fund-raisers after I'd been elected to the United States Senate, that would have been enough. Dayenu."

He elaborated, prompting laughter: "I have been here so much - the only thing I haven't done at this house is have seder dinner."


awhelan@phillynews.com

215-854-2961 @aubreyjwhelan

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