Barack Obama | Gay Rights | News | Washington DC

Obama Raises $1.4M at LGBT D.C. Dinner for High-Paying Donors

Obama appeared at a $35,800-ticket D.C. fundraiser for high-paying LGBT donors last night at the home of Karen Dixon and Dr. Nan Schaffer. Press were invited to hear his opening remarks, which did not cover marriage equality or ENDA, but focused on the work he had done in his first term and broader issues of fairness. Approximately $1.4 million was raised at the event.

ObamaWrites ABC News' Jake Tapper:

"Dixon and Schaffer, transplants from Chicago, held a wedding ceremony in July 2008 with hundreds of guests attending from all across the country, according to an account in the Windy City Times."

On Obama's remarks...

"We're going to have more work to do on this issue, as is true on a lot of other issues," Obama told attendees, who included Tim Gill,  the first out LGBT ambassador, James Hormel, Laura Ricketts, the first openly LGBT owner of a major-league baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, philanthropist David Bohnett, Henry van Ameringen, former HRC head Elizabeth Birch, HRC board member, Bruce Bastian, Terry Bean, and GMHC CEO Marjorie Hill.

Obama said he was proud of the work that's been accomplished with respect to the LGBT community:

"The changes we made at the State Department.  The changes we made in terms of our own personnel policies.  But also some very high-profile work, like 'don't ask, don't tell.'"

He said that the process by which it has been achieved has been methodical and effective:

"...what's been striking over the course of these last three years is because we've rooted this work in this concept of fairness, and we haven't gone out of our way to grab credit for it, we haven't gone out of our way to call other folks names if they didn’t always agree with us on stuff, but we just kept plodding along -- because of that, in some ways what's been remarkable is how readily the public recognizes this is the right thing to do."

ObamaObama pointed out 'DADT' repeal as one example of that:

"The perception was somehow that this would be this huge, ugly issue.  But because we did it methodically, because we brought the Pentagon in, because we got some very heroic support from people like Bob Gates and Mike Mullen, and they thought through institutionally how to do it effectively -- since it happened, nothing's happened. Nothing's happened."
 
The President said the concerns of the military remain on their job at hand.
 
"It was striking -- when I was in Hawaii, there is a Marine base close to where we stay.  Probably the nicest piece of real estate I think the Marines have," Obama added. "It is very nice. And they have this great gym, and you go in there, you work out, and you always feel really inadequate because they're really in good shape, all these people.  They're lifting 100-pound dumb bells and all this stuff. At least three times that I was at that gym, people came up, very quietly, to say, you know what, thank you for ending 'don't ask, don't tell.' Now, here's the thing.  I didn’t even know whether they were gay or lesbian.  I didn’t ask -- because that wasn’t the point.  The point was these were outstanding Marines who appreciated the fact that everybody was going to be treated fairly."

Read Obama's full remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Chris Geidner at MetroWeekly notes that press was not allowed at a Q&A following those remarks, or at the latter half of the event, but he did talk to many of the attendees. Read his report HERE.

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AT CAMPAIGN EVENT
 
Private Residence
Washington, D.C.
 
 
7:09 P.M. EST
 
 
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  (Applause.)  Thank you, Laura, for the wonderful introduction -- the best introduction that a Cubs fan has ever given me.  (Laughter.)  The rivalry is fierce in Chicago, but I'll make an exception here.
 
And I want to thank Karen and Nan for opening up their incredible home.  (Applause.)  To all of you, and to everybody who helped put this together, thank you so much.  I am very grateful.
 
I’m going to be very brief at the top, because I want to -- usually in these things I like to spend most of my time in a conversation.  I do want to acknowledge that I have as good a Cabinet as I think any President in modern history has had.  And one of the stars of that Cabinet is sitting right here, Kathleen Sebelius.  (Applause.)
 
All of America has gone through an incredibly difficult, wrenching time these last three years.  And it doesn’t matter whether you are black or white, whether you are Northern or Southern, rich or poor, gay or straight; I think all of us have been deeply concerned over these last three years to making sure that our economy recovers, that we're putting people back to work, that we stabilize the financial system.  The amount of hardship and challenge that ordinary families have gone through over the last three years has been incredible.  And there are still a lot of folks hurting out there.
 
The good news is that we're moving in the right direction.  And when I came into office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month, and this past month we gained 250,000 -- that’s a million job swing.  (Applause.)  And for the last 23 months, we've now created 3.7 million jobs.  And that’s more than any time since 2000 -- or, yes, since, 2005 -- the number of jobs that we created last year, and more manufacturing jobs than any time since the 1990s.
 
So we're making progress on that front now, but we've still got a long way to go.  Today, we announced a housing settlement, brought about by our Attorney General and states attorneys all across the country.  And as a consequence, we're going to see billions of dollars in loan modifications and help to folks who are seeing their homes underwater.  And that’s going to have a huge impact.
 
In my State of the Union, we talked about the need for American manufacturing -- companies coming back, insourcing, and recognizing how incredibly productive American workers are; and our need to continue to double down on investments in clean energy; and making sure that our kids are getting trained so that they are competing with any workers in the world, and are also effectively equipped to be great citizens and to understand the world around them.
 
And we talked about the fact that we've got to have the same set of values of fair play and responsibility for everybody -- whether it's Wall Street or Main Street.  It means that we have a Consumer Finance Protection Board that is enforcing rules that make sure that nobody is getting abused by predatory lending or credit card scams.  It means that we have regulations in place that protect our air and our water.
 
And it also means that we ensure that everybody in our society has a fair shot, is treated fairly.  That’s at the heart of the American Dream.  For all the other stuff going on, one thing every American understands is you should be treated fairly; you should be judged on the merits.  If you work hard, if you do a good job, if you're responsible in your community, if you're looking after you family, if you're caring for other people, then that’s how you should be judged.  Not by what you look like, not by how you worship, not by where you come from, not by who you love.
 
And so the work that we've done with respect to the LGBT community I think is just profoundly American and is at the heart of who we are.  (Applause.)  And that’s why I could not be prouder of the track record that we've done, starting with the very beginning when we started to change, through executive order, some of the federal policies.  Kathleen -- the work that she did making sure that hospital visitation was applied equally to same-sex couples, just like with anybody else's loved ones.  The changes we made at the State Department.  The changes we made in terms of our own personnel policies.  But also some very high-profile work, like "don't ask, don't tell."
 
     And what's been striking over the course of these last three years is because we've rooted this work in this concept of fairness, and we haven't gone out of our way to grab credit for it, we haven't gone out of our way to call other folks names if they didn’t always agree with us on stuff, but we just kept plodding along -- because of that, in some ways what's been remarkable is how readily the public recognizes this is the right thing to do.
 
     Think about -- just take "don't ask, don't tell" as an example.  The perception was somehow that this would be this huge, ugly issue.  But because we did it methodically, because we brought the Pentagon in, because we got some very heroic support from people like Bob Gates and Mike Mullen, and they thought through institutionally how to do it effectively -- since it happened, nothing's happened.  (Laughter and applause.)  Nothing's happened.
 
     We still have the best military by far on Earth.  There hasn’t been any notion of erosion and unit cohesion.  It turns out that people just want to know, are you a good soldier, are you a good sailor, are you a good airman, are you a good Marine, good Coast Guardsman.  That's what they're concerned about.  Do you do your job?  Do you do your job well?
 
     It was striking -- when I was in Hawaii, there is a Marine base close to where we stay.  Probably the nicest piece of real estate I think the Marines have.  (Laughter.)  It is very nice.  And they have this great gym, and you go in there, you work out, and you always feel really inadequate because they're really in good shape, all these people.  (Laughter.)  They're lifting 100-pound dumb bells and all this stuff.  At least three times that I was at that gym, people came up, very quietly, to say, you know what, thank you for ending "don't ask, don't tell."
 
     Now, here's the thing.  I didn’t even know whether they were gay or lesbian.  I didn’t ask -- because that wasn’t the point.  The point was these were outstanding Marines who appreciated the fact that everybody was going to be treated fairly.
 
     We're going to have more work to do on this issue, as is true on a lot of other issues.  There's still areas where fairness is not the rule.  And we're going to have to keep on pushing in the same way -- persistently, politely, listening to folks who don’t always agree with us, but sticking to our guns in terms of what our values are all about.  What American values are all about.
 
And that's going to be true on the issues that are of importance to the LGBT community specifically, but it's also going to be true on a host of other issues where we're just going to have to make persistent steady progress.  Whether it is having an energy policy that works for America; whether it is having an immigration policy that is rational so that we are actually both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants; whether it's making sure that as we get our fiscal house in order we do it in a balanced way where everybody is doing their fair share to help close this deficit.  It's not just being done on the backs of people who don't have enough political clout on Capitol Hill, but it's broadly applied and everybody is doing their fair share.
 
On all these issues, my view is that if we go back to first principles and we ask ourselves, what does it mean for us as Americans to live in a society where everybody has a fair shot, everybody is doing their fair share, we're playing by a fair set of rules, everybody is engaging in fair play -- then we're going to keep on making progress.
 
And that's where I think the American people are at.  It doesn’t mean this is going to be smooth.  It doesn’t mean that there aren’t going to be bumps in the road.  It's not always good politics -- sometimes it's not.  But over the long term, the trajectory of who we are as a nation, I believe that's our national character.  We trend towards fairness and treating people well.  And as long as we keep that in mind, I think we should be optimistic not just about the next election, but about the future of this country.
 
Thank you.  (Applause.)

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Comments

  1. OMG! Why should any LGBT person give Obama any more money? I don't get it. he treats us like trash and we keep making him rich. I want the same rights that he and his pretty little family have.Enough with giving bigots money!

    Posted by: Chris in SF | Feb 10, 2012 8:51:24 AM


  2. Well, Chris, I guess it's because:
    (a) Obama is not a bigot, and is in fact working towards gay equality. His role as President means that he can't publicly say that he's in favor of gay marriage anymore (though he is, and back in 1996 he would say so publicly); and
    (b) The money's not for Obama, it's for his re-election. Whatever you may think of Obama's stance on gay rights, Romney-Gingrich-Santorum are WAY worse. Santorum literally wants to be able to put gays in jail again, as do many of the people that President Romney or President Gingrich would appoint to high office.

    Posted by: BABH | Feb 10, 2012 9:23:49 AM


  3. No gay money for Obama until he responds to every celebrity tweet!

    Posted by: endo | Feb 10, 2012 9:30:26 AM


  4. Chris, I guess you would appreciate President Santorum.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Feb 10, 2012 9:36:15 AM


  5. Chris, when is comes down to it.. who do you want in office next term? Obama, who has coordinated a lot for the GLBT community in the last three years, or one of the other three who keep using us as a pinata?

    Posted by: deryk | Feb 10, 2012 9:37:48 AM


  6. @Deryk. It doesn't matter who is in the WH at this point. Marriage equality passed in Washington, NY without Obama's input. I will vote for democrats in the down tickets races.I'm not voting for Obama. Less of the two evils is still evil.

    Posted by: Chris in SF | Feb 10, 2012 10:01:04 AM


  7. @CHRIS you're entitled to your opinion, and I have other friends who have tried to make the same argument, but if you really think a President Santorum wouldn't do EVERYTHING in his power to put a muzzle on you and your civil rights then you are sorely mistaken. The same goes for President Romney or Gingrich. They have sold out to Christianists and will continue to do so, and thats the one thing that Obama has not done and that I appreciate.

    Posted by: JWL | Feb 10, 2012 10:07:11 AM


  8. For me, its not a question of whether Obama has done enough, but how hard a Republican president will work to undo what Obama has done. Use your f*cking brain, CHRIS.

    Posted by: DocJay | Feb 10, 2012 10:18:42 AM


  9. Thank you President Obama for all that done for America's GLBT citizens - the most any sitting US president has ever done!

    Posted by: Trust | Feb 10, 2012 11:01:12 AM


  10. "OMG! Why should any LGBT person give Obama any more money?"

    Um, maybe because they support Obama and want to see him reelected rather than replaced by one of the Republican disgraces currently fighting for the nomination? People with bucks are free to spend them however they like, aren't they? Those who don't care to contribute don't have to.

    The only OMG is why any gay person would be surprised that gay people with $$$$ might want to send some the president's way. His presidency has already been much better for gay rights than a Republican alternative would have been (duh), and, with the sea change happening in the states and in the courts, another 4 years for Obama is indisputably the best option for lgbt rights. And, probably a lot of gay people are actually, gasp, liberals, who would prefer a liberal president over a conservative president on a whole host of issues.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 10, 2012 11:02:24 AM


  11. Chris in SF you are a blooming idiot and give San Francisco a bad name

    Posted by: Mike C. | Feb 10, 2012 2:07:47 PM


  12. Silly shallow queens. Yes, The Prez is too malleable, too wishy-washy when the far-right kooks start foaming, but he's all we have. The Taliban (Papist and/or evangelical fundie variety) are at the castle gate and Obama is the moat, kids. And queens are not known for hand to hand combat on the parapet, since we know those big muscles are all for show. Better to have a deeply flawed champion than a return to the 13th century.

    Posted by: Dowager Countess | Feb 10, 2012 7:25:17 PM


  13. President Obama has been the greatest gay rights president this nation has ever had and guess what kids; a second term with no pressure of having to worry about getting re-elected will make him even bolder. It is up to US to hold his feet to the fire and be the wind at his back. We must force him to do what he wants to do. He has said as much. Without the pressure of our community there would be no openly serving gays in the military and DOMA would be defended in court by the Justice Dept. By the end of his second term he will be signing a marriage equality bill into law and DOMA will be a thing of the past. But first, we must give what we can as the forces of evil have been unleashed with the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling and we must VOTE! Except you Chris, you stay home with the other Log Cabin self-haters and dream of the day that you can be blanketed with the Santorum that you now have on your face.

    Posted by: Dave | Feb 11, 2012 8:43:37 AM


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