President Obama capped off a four-day campaign swing out west with some frank admissions to supporters, telling them the Nov. 2 midterms are going to be “difficult” and admitting that sometimes he begins “losing hope.”
The comments came in the context of two speeches in Minnesota where the president’s overall point was to rally donors at a fundraiser and supporters at a rally.
But whether they were slips of the tongue or intentional remarks meant to set expectations, the comments were unusually blunt, and reflect the apparent inevitability of a significant Republican victory in the midterm elections.
“There is no doubt that this is going to be a difficult election,” Obama told a crowd of roughly 8,000 enthusiastic supporters at the University of Minnesota.
At a fundraising dinner after the rally in Minneapolis, Obama was frank with the 100 attendees who paid between $2,500 and $50,000 to attend.
“I’ve got to admit, Mr. President, sometimes over the last couple of years, with all the negative ads and all the money that’s been pouring in, all the filibustering and obstruction in Congress, sometimes I just start losing altitude, start losing hope,” Obama said. “It just seems like change is so hard to bring about.”
The president went on to exhort the Democratic donors not to give up, and to keep supporting him and his agenda.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat whose political future is in jeopardy, appeared with Obama at the rally, and blamed a good portion of her party’s woes on a wave of campaign spending being poured into races across the country by outside conservative groups.
“Everything was going great and all of a sudden secret money from God knows where – because they won’t disclose it – is pouring in,” Pelosi said.
Obama, who has attacked the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and American Crossroads in the past week or two, did not mention any organizations by name on Saturday but called them “phony front groups.”
“They are pouring millions of dollars through a network of phony front groups, flooding the airwaves with misleading attack ads,” Obama said, reprising his charge that the money from unkown donors is “a threat to our democracy.”
The president returned to Washington Saturday evening after headlining six rallies and seven fundraisers – which raised at least $2.9 million according to CBS News’ Mark Knoller – in four days, beginning in Portland, Ore., and stopping in Washington, California and Nevada before finishing up in Minnesota.
Obama will go to Rhode Island on Monday for an official non-campaign event and a fundraiser to help the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. But in recognition of the fact that the president is more of a hindrance than a help in many parts of the country, he will stay in Washington from Tuesday to Friday.
On Wednesday, Obama will do an interview with “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart, a few days before Stewart holds a rally on the National Mall in Washington on Oct. 30.
Next weekend, Obama will travel to three cities — Philadelphia, Bridgeport, Conn. and Chicago — on Saturday, and will hold a rally in Cleveland on Sunday, two days before the election, with Vice President Joe Biden.
The White House has not announced any plans for Obama to travel anywhere the day before or the day of the election. But first lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to hit Philadelphia and Las Vegas on Monday, Nov. 1.