Obama unloads on Republicans, sees 'cynical genius'

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2014 8:52 PM

NEWPORT R.I. (Reuters) - Obama, raising money for Democratic candidates as Republicans aim to take over the Senate in the fall, on Friday blamed some Republicans for a calculated effort to undermine faith in government by opposing policy compromises.

"There has been a certain cynical genius to what some of these folks have done," Obama said at the second of three fundraisers he attended.

"What they’ve realized is, if we don’t get anything done, then people are going to get cynical about government and its possibilities of doing good for everybody," he said in Purchase, New York. "And since they don’t believe in government, that’s a pretty good thing." 

Many polls show Republicans regaining control of the Senate in November's elections. That would give them control of both houses of Congress, making it harder for the president to move forward on his agenda in the remaining two years of his presidency.

Republican opposition has blocked the president from achieving immigration reform and an increase in the minimum wage, among other policy initiatives he has pursued.

The President dropped in at three fundraising events on Friday - starting his day in New Rochelle, New York, and ending it at a seaside mansion in Newport, Rhode Island.

In Purchase, Obama spoke to approximately 250 supporters at the home of Robert and Carol Wolf. Tickets started at $15,000 per couple, a DNC spokesman said.

Robert Wolf, formerly chief operating officer at UBS Investment Bank, is a major Obama donor and fundraiser. Wolf hosts weekly webcasts on the Reuters TV channel on YouTube.

The president earlier attended a DNC roundtable discussion in New Rochelle with approximately 25 supporters contributing up to $32,400, a spokesman for the DNC said.

In Rhode Island, Obama spoke to approximately 60 guests at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) event at the home of Rick Bready and Betty Easton. The DCCC raises money for Democrats running for the House of Representatives, where Republicans are not expected to lose the majority they already hold. Ticket prices ranged from $15,000 to $32,400 per person.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia, predicted a pickup by Republicans of six-to-seven seats as the "likeliest" outcome. Republicans would need to gain six seats to obtain a majority in the Senate.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Ken Wills)