We gave a little friendly advice to the national media earlier today about the correct name of the Brentwood restaurant where President Obama spoke tonight. Figures it would be a local reporter who would send them astray in the end. L.A. Times Metro politics reporter Maeve Reston pulled duty as the local pool reporter and she got the name of the restaurant wrong in this dispatch to the White House media corps.
Motorcade left the Sony lot at 8:05pm headed to The Tavern restaurant in Brentwood. The 405 is completely shut down for the motorcade. No other traffic.
Again, the initials of Tavern aren't TT. It would be like referring to The Campanile, The Spago, The Pink's or The Canter's. Not a crime, but not done by Angelenos. [* Friday morning update: Reston sent out a nice correction.]
Reston's 10:15 p.m. final pool report had Obama safely inside the Beverly Hilton, with plans to helicopter to LAX in the morning. Her report from inside Tavern — with Gov. Jerry Brown and a bunch of Hollywood celebrities in attendance — is after the jump. (Yeah, she got the name wrong there too.)
Pool Report #5
Los Angeles, CA
Obama arrived at his final fundraiser of the evening at around 8:20pm after speeding down Interstate-405, which had been completely shut down for the motorcade ride from Culver City to Brentwood. The dinner was held at The Tavern in a private room that held about 50 people. Major celebrity wattage at this event.
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife were seated a table in near the middle of the room. Other celebs included George Clooney (who the President acknowledged), Steven Spielberg as well as Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson, and Will Ferrell. Tables were covered with forest green tablecloths. Potted trees and twinkling white lights created an atrium-like setting. About 50 guests seated, possibly a few more. (See earlier pool report for information about contributions).
Obama was introduced by Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks Animation SKG's chief executive. Katzenberg noted that about three years or so ago most “everyone in this room embarked on a great journey and adventure with you,” he said, directing his remarks to the President. “I think we all would agree that nobody has ever inherited a set of challenges and nobody I think could possibly be better in tackling them. So we all feel very lucky to have you as our president (applause) for four more years.”
“Four more years,” Obama said, taking the microphone. Speaking from a slightly elevated position that appeared to be a small set of stairs or stage, he added: “Technically it’s actually five and a half more years.” (Laughter).
Thanked Jeffrey and Marilyn, calling Jeffrey “an extraordinary friend.” (Jeffrey Katzenberg’s wife name is Marilyn; Can only assume it is the same Marilyn)
“A lot of you got involved at a time when the prospect of electing Barack Hussein Obama to the Oval Office was slim. None of you asked for my birth certificate. It was complete leap of faith,” he added to laughter.
POTUS said he wanted to spend most of the evening moving from table to table and wasn’t going to give a long speech. He acknowledged Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown – to applause – and the U.S. ambassador to Bahamas: Nicole A. Avant.
“It’s a nice gig isn’t it,” he said to laughter.
“When we started this journey it was actually about four years ago I think we understood that the country was at a cross roads and we were going to have to make some fundamental changes so that we could make sure our kids, our grandkids, the next generation inherited the same kind of big-spirited America that we inherited from our grandparents and parents,” the President said. “We didn’t maybe know how steep the climb was going to be to get to where we needed to go. But we understood it was not going to be easy. The campaign wasn’t easy. There’s a lot of revisionist history going on now – ‘Boy his campaign was so easy.’“It didn’t feel that way at time. It was hard.”
“But we kept at it, because we understood that a country that is generous and compassionate; that is looking after our children and grandchildren making sure that they’ve got a shot at the American dream; is making sure that our seniors have dignity and security in old age; that is looking after families that have got a disabled child; that is investing in our infrastructure so that we can move products and services and people and information around rapidly; that is a benevolent influence in world and respected around the world. We understood that getting to where we needed to go wasn’t going to be easy. And it hasn’t been, but we have made extraordinary progress over the last two and half years. We’ve pulled this economy out of a recession. We’ve stabilized the financial system. We’ve passed historic health care legislation to make sure that 30 million people aren’t going to go without coverage (applause). We’ve repealed ‘Don’t ask, Don’t tell.’ We have put two women on the Supreme Court including the first Latina (applause). We’ve passed equal pay for equal work. We can go down the list, but we also know we’ve got a lot more work to do. We’ve just started and we’ve got a lot more work to do.”
“There have been times, I’m sure, during the past two and half years where you read in the papers or you’re watching on TV and you’re saying ‘Ah, Obama, why did you compromise with the Republicans.’ Or why did health care take so long. I want a single-payer plan anyway.’ ‘’Golly if he was just as good a communicator as George Clooney,’” the president said looking at Clooney to laughter, “I’m sure the American people would understand exactly what needs to be done.’”
“That’s understandable, because there have been times when I’ve been frustrated,” the president continued. “But I don’t want you to lose sight of how much we’ve gotten done. What we’ve done here has been historic and we’re only a quarter of the way through.”
The President said the budget debates “crystallizes the debate that we are going to be having in this country over the next 18 months about who we are, what we care about, what our values are, what our commitments are to each other.”
POTUS noted that his poll numbers “go up and down depending on the latest crisisand right now gas prices are weighing heavily on people.”
“But when I talk to ordinary folks, they are not always paying attention. If you ask them what the makeup of the 25 percent is, they will say 25% of it goes to foreign aid. If you ask them about Medicare, they will say I love that program, but I wish the government wouldn’t get involved in it,” he said to light laughter.
“Just because they are busy,” POTUS interjected. “They’re tired, they are working hard; they are looking after their families; they are looking after their kids. If I wasn’t professionally in this – I wouldn’t be following all these debates in Washington. But when you talk to them about your values – what they care about – they say of course we should make sure every child has a good education and gets opportunity. And absolutely we’ve got to make sure our commitments to seniors are met. And of course, we want a family whose child has a disability is getting everything possible to allow them to succeed. And yes internationally we want to stand on the side of human rights and democracy.”
Added that the world is complicated: “But we have a vision about what America should be in the world and we want to live up to that.”
POTUS said government has to live within its means, but said “we think we can live within its means and still ensure that we’re delivering for next generation.”
POTUS closed by saying he had faith in them (the next generation) and faith in “you.” “Just remember the camp in 2008, it wasn’t about big crowds and nice posters and it wasn’t even about me. It was about commitments we made to each other as Americans. And those commitments have not ended; they didn’t end on Election Day; they don’t end when I take office. Those are commitments that we have to fight for and work for and be true to, each and every day. That’s what the next 18 months are going to be about.”
Pool was ushered out of the room at this point.
At 9:56pm, the motorcade is holding at the restaurant in Brentwood. But departure appears to be near…
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