Obama turns to tech leaders for funds for Democratic candidates

US President Barack Obama warned tech leaders yesterday to dig deep in their wallets to fund Democratic candidates and feel a sense of urgency about congressional elections in November or risk further gridlock in Washington and a failure to move on their priorities.


Obama was the headline speaker at four California fund-raising events, raising his two-day total to five. His last was a Silicon Valley event in San Jose co-hosted by Y Combinator President Sam Altman and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. About 250 people paid between $1,000 and $32,400 to attend.


Earlier Obama took his California fund-raising tour first to the seaside home in La Jolla of Qualcomm founder Iwin Jacobs.


The tech industry has raised questions about the scale of the National Security Agency's surveillance under the Obama administration, but there's little sign that Obama is losing support in Silicon Valley.


Obama made no mention of these concerns in his luncheon speech attended by 65 guests who paid up to $32,400 per couple for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He told them that majorities of Americans support the direction that Democrats want to take the country, such as on raising the minimum wage and making sure women receive equal pay as men, but that they have "lost faith that we can actually make it happen" because of Washington gridlock.


During his remarks, Obama struck at the heart of the issue that Republicans are using against Democrats in their campaigns: The Affordable Care Act, the Obamacare law whose troubled rollout has given Obama's political opponents much grist for criticism.


Republicans have mounted a strong effort to seize control of the Senate from Democrats and are also trying to build on their majority in the House of Representatives. Obama said the effort must be stopped in order to prevent more gridlock in Washington. "The reason that we’ve got gridlock right now is because you’ve got a party that’s been captured by folks who are on the wrong side of the issues," he said.


Obama, whose own job approval rating under 50 percent is weighing down Democratic prospects in November, said Republicans offer nothing more than their vow to repeal the healthcare law. "If that's all they've got, then they shouldn't be running either chamber, They shouldn't be running the House. And they sure shouldn't be running the Senate," he said.



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