Obama was in New York to attend fundraisers aimed at building up
campaign war chests for this year's midterm congressional elections,
which he said are key to how much of his agenda he can get done in
the rest of his time in office.
"I don't have time to waste... I want to squeeze every last bit of
work that I can during the remainder of my term so that looking back
I'll be able to say we left everything on the field," he said at the
second of the events, which was staged to help Democratic candidates
for the U.S. Senate.
Obama's first stop was at a Gap store, where the president sorted
carefully through sweaters in search of a purchase for one of his
two daughters, Sasha and Malia, before holding up a pink one.
"I'm worried the V-neck is going to slip," the president said before
opting for a regular-cut neck.
Moving to the adult women's section, Obama declared wife Michelle
difficult to shop for: "Maybe I should buy some socks."
Obama had dropped by a Midtown Manhattan branch of the clothing
chain to thank Gap Inc for its decision to raise the minimum wage to
$9 an hour this year and $10 an hour in 2015. He has been
campaigning to persuade businesses and Congress to raise wages for
workers at the bottom of the scale.
After picking a pair of sweaters and a blue workout jacket, Obama
moved to the cash register, as reporters, photographers, aides, and
Secret Service agents looked on.
"I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense," he said,
before admitting that his goal was to make sure "that I didn't
completely screw up."
Using a credit card to pay, Obama pretended that he did not know
that he could sign his name on the credit card machine.
"Oh wow. So, you can sign the machine?" he said.
As reporters took note, Obama said he was teasing: "They had these
around the last time I shopped."
PRESIDENT PRAISES MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE
Obama then thanked Gap for raising the minimum wage for its
employees and urged other companies to do the same.
"It's not only good for them and their families, it's also good for
the entire economy," he said.
[to top of second column]
The president was the headliner at the two fundraisers, which are
part of an effort to make sure Democrats are well funded in
congressional elections in November, in which they are scrambling to
retain control of the U.S. Senate.
The party that controls the White House usually loses seats in
midterm elections and Republicans are optimistic they will be able
to build on their majority in the House of Representatives and
possibly grab control of the Senate.
The first fundraiser was a roundtable discussion for the Democratic
National Committee at the home of venture capitalist Alan Patricof,
a longtime supporter of Hillary Clinton. The 25 supporters in
attendance contributed up to $32,400.
The second was an event for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign
Committee at the home of Blackstone Group President Tony James and
his wife, Amie. Tickets for the event were $32,400. New York Mayor
Bill de Blasio attended.
Standing in the dining room and speaking through a hand-held
microphone, Obama urged Democrats to help.
"The fact of the matter is that Democrats are not without our flaws.
We have our blind spots and we have our dogmas and we have our, you
know, crazy folks. But as a whole this is a party that is serious
about making sure that America is growing and offering opportunity
to everybody," Obama told about 50 Democratic loyalists.
(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Cynthia
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