Obama to Hollywood: We're in Downward Spiral of Dysfunction

Image: Obama to Hollywood: We're in Downward Spiral of Dysfunction President Barack Obama is presented with the Ambassador for Humanity Award by movie producer Steven Spielberg at the USC Shoah Foundation 20th Anniversary Gala in Los Angeles on May 7.

Thursday, 08 May 2014 06:26 AM

By Elliot Jager

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President Barack Obama told a Hollywood Democratic fundraiser Wednesday night that the midterm elections offered voters a chance to break the country out of its political rut, Variety reported.

The president spoke at the Bel-Air home of Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn to about 90 guests who had each paid a minimum of $10,000 to attend. Obama said there was "disquiet," "anxiety," and "frustration" around the country, according to Variety.

In informal remarks that lasted 15 minutes, Obama cautioned that those who "had the most at stake in a government that works" should not "opt out of the system."

Doing so would empower "those who don't believe government can do anything." And that would allow "gridlock" to reign  — "and we got this downward spiral of even more cynicism and more dysfunction. And we have to break out of that cycle, and that's what this election all about," according to Variety.

The president said he did not accept the assessment that "somehow America is on a downward trajectory. By every indicator, we are better positioned than any country on earth to succeed in this knowledge economy in the 21st century."

He continued, "But what is absolutely true is that if we don't make good choices we could decline, and we're not going to make good choices unless we break out of this cycle in which dysfunction breeds cynicism, and we have to break out of it. And that happens during midterms. That does not happen during presidential elections."

The event was sponsored by the House Senate Victory Fund. Among the guests were Barbra Streisand, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tom Rothman, and James Brolin. Also attending were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, Variety reported.

The president is on a West Coast fundraising trip that will include stops in San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.

His presence added to the rush-hour woes of Los Angeles commuters — dubbed #ObamaJam by some drivers — where roads were already more congested than usual because of ongoing construction, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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