Thursday, August 4, 2011

White House News: Obama turns 50th birthday into campaign fundraiser, Posted by Menelik Zeleke

U.S. President Barack Obama celebrates his 50th birthday with a star-studded fundraiser in Chicago, featuring performers Jennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock.



SHOWS: CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, UNITED STATES (AUGUST 3, 2011) (RESTRICTED POOL -- NO ACCESS USA / CNN / AOL / YAHOO / WIRELESS)
1. SINGER JENNIFER HUDSON, JAZZ MUSICIAN HERBIE HANCOCK AND ROCK BAND OK GO AND CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL SINGING HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA 2. OBAMA SHAKES HANDS WITH EMANUEL, HUDSON, OK GO BAND AND HANCOCK 3. OBAMA WALKS TO PODIUM 4. OBAMA AT PODIUM 5. AUDIENCE 6. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING: "Precisely because the challenges were so daunting. Precisely because we were inheriting so many challenges that we're not even half-way there yet. When I said change we could believe in, I didn't say change we could believe in tomorrow. Not change we could believe in next week. We knew this was going to take time because we've got this big messy tough democracy.
7. OBAMA AT PODIUM
8. (SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA SAYING:
"We know we've still got a lot of work to do on the economy. I hope we can avoid another self-inflicted wound like we've seen over the last couple of weeks, because we don't have time to play these partisan games. We've got too much work to do."
9. OBAMA PODIUM
10. OBAMA WALKS AWAY FROM PODIUM
11. OBAMA SHAKES HANDS WITH SUPPORTERS
12. HERBIE HANCOCK PERFORMING
STORY: President Barack Obama turned his 50th birthday into a 2012 campaign fundraising bonanza on Wednesday, (August 3) buoyed by a hometown crowd after what he called a frustrating period locked in a debt battle with Republicans.
Musician Herbie Hancock, OK Go rock band and crooner Jennifer Hudson all sang happy birthday to the president but Obama did not seem to be in the mood for celebrating.
He made clear in remarks to a big audience at a music auditorium and in a videoconference with supporters scattered across the country that he will now focus on trying to spur job growth now that the debt debate is behind him.
The debt battle ended on Tuesday (August 2) when Obama signed compromise legislation reached after painstaking negotiations that barely averted a government default.
"This last week was a frustrating week," said Obama, who turns 50 on Thursday.
He used the conflict over debts and deficits to tell his supporters that Democrats and Republicans have deep divisions over economic policy and that the November 2012 presidential election, "in some ways may be more important than the last one."
In the just-ended debt dispute, Obama agreed to $2.1 trillion in spending cuts over a decade but Republicans refused his demand that tax increases be included in the package.
Returning to the campaign trail after a month spent locked in debt talks, Obama used his appearances to defend his economic record, saying he inherited severe challenges from Republican President George W. Bush, including an economy that was worse than he and his aides had realized.
The United States is suffering under a 9.2 percent jobless rate and economic growth has slowed to a crawl. The debt crisis that brought the country to the brink of default has also contributed to a sagging stock market.
Obama said he knew the challenges he faces were not going to be solved overnight.
"We know we've still got a lot of work to do on the economy," he said. "I hope we can avoid another self-inflicted wound like we've seen over the last couple of weeks, because we don't have time to play these partisan games."
The warm welcome he received from a crowd of 2,400 who heard performances from musicians Jennifer Hudson and Herbie Hancock was a balm for the president's wounds. His job approval rating is in the low 40s, near the lowest of his presidency.

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