LOS ANGELES/US — President Barack Obama mixed a pitch for manufacturing jobs with a dash for campaign cash on Wednesday, embarking on a three-day West Coast trip to haul in millions of dollars for his re-election bid.
Obama’s day brought him from the factory floor of a Milwaukee padlock manufacturer to the posh home of a Hollywood soap opera producer, where 1,000 people paid hundreds of dollars apiece to support Obama and listen to the rock band the Foo Fighters. The messages throughout the day — from policies to spur job growth to the need to mobilize for a tough campaign ahead — are intertwined as Obama seeks re-election.
“It’s not going to be easier this time. It’s going to be harder this time,” Obama said Wednesday night at the home of Bradley Bell, the executive producer of “The Bold and the Beautiful,” at an event attended by notables that included actors Jack Black and Rashida Jones. “People out there are hurting and they need us to do more.”
The president also was attending a dinner at Bell’s Holmby Hills home, co-hosted by actor Will Ferrell, with 80 supporters paying $35,800 each. Obama was spending the night at the Beverly Hilton, the same hotel where singer Whitney Houston died on Saturday.
California traditionally has been a fundraising mecca for Democrats — and a reliably blue state — and Obama’s campaign was expected to collect millions from six events in Los Angeles and San Francisco over two days. He was wrapping up the week with two fundraisers in the Seattle area.
The president raised more than $220 million for his campaign and the Democratic National Committee in 2011 and is trying to use a protracted Republican presidential primary to build a financial buffer zone to help his cause in the November general election. Democrats have warned that outside groups supporting Republicans will pour hundreds of millions of dollars into the campaign to target Obama.
Obama was making his first fundraising trip outside Washington since his campaign announced it would encourage supporters to donate to a Democratic super PAC backing Obama’s campaign. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and their wives do not plan to appear at events for the super PAC, Priorities USA.
It was also Obama’s first trip to Hollywood since Congress delayed action on legislation cracking down on online piracy. The legislation was pushed by the film industry and garnered major opposition from Internet companies before it stalled, pitting two Democratic constituencies against each other.
Obama has said any legislation must protect intellectual property that creates jobs in the U.S., while still respecting the integrity of the Internet as an open system. The president made no mention of the issue during remarks to the large audience of activists.