LOS ANGELES (AP) — In a sober political assessment, President Barack Obama told donors Wednesday that disquiet and a sense of frustration in the country is fueling cynicism about government that could hurt Democratic turnout in the November congressional elections.
Obama told high-dollar contributors that he feels a sense of urgency about the election and needs the Senate to remain Democratic. Republicans have a chance to win control of the Senate this year.
Obama spoke at the home of Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn before about 90 contributors who paid from $10,000 to $32,400 to attend. Among those attending were Hollywood luminaries Barbra Streisand, James Brolin and Jeffrey Katzenberg
Obama said the political system faces challenges from legislative procedures, a partisan media and too much money in politics. But he said the main cause for gridlock was fundamental differences between what Democrats believe and "what this particular brand of Republicans in Congress believes."
He said the gridlock in government has disillusioned many of the voters upon whom Democrats rely.
"When they get discouraged they don't vote," he said. "We have to break out of that cycle, and that is what this election is about."
Obama emphasized the need to retain a Democratic majority in the Senate. With House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in the audience, he also called for Democrats to make a push to recapture control of the House, though many party activists have little hope of achieving that.
Obama was holding five fundraisers for the Democratic Party during a three-day California swing.