MIAMI (AP) — President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the relatively short amount of time he has left in office "really concentrates the mind."
Addressing supporters, Obama said his administration hopes to make the most of that time by "moving and pushing and trying" to provide opportunities for everyone, but some issues — he highlighted immigration in immigrant-heavy South Florida — have stalled because "we are stuck in Congress."
He told the approximately 60 supporters who had just consumed a catered beef dinner at the home of developer Stephen Bittel that "we've got to get people involved" because lawmakers will respond to them like no one else.
"The great genius of this democracy" is that the most important office is "the office of citizen," Obama said.
"Congress ultimately responds to an electorate that is expressing our highest and best values around issues, like climate change," he said, naming an issue he will address Thursday when he tours the National Hurricane Center, also in Miami.
Obama added that in "just a blink of an eye" he will be a citizen again, too.
The fundraiser, the first of two Obama attended Wednesday, raised campaign money for the Democratic National Committee for the 2016 presidential race. So far, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are seeking the nomination. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is expected to announce his candidacy around the end of the month.
About 60 people contributed up to $33,400 each to hear from the president, party officials said.
Obama also attended an earlier fundraiser at the home of mortgage broker Joe Falk that was closed to news media coverage because the president made no formal remarks, the White House said. About 30 supporters each paid $33,400 to attend, officials said.
Bittel and Falk each raised thousands of dollars to help Obama win re-election in 2012.
Obama acknowledged that an eight-year span in the life of a country is pretty short. He said that while he still has things to accomplish, he's also laying a foundation so he can "pass that baton" on to the next administration.
Follow Darlene Supervile on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap