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Obama Praises Dem Lawmakers in California

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    Obama Praised Democratic Lawmakers Before Leaving Bay Area

    Before leaving the Bay Area Saturday, President Barack Obama praised Democratic lawmakers for having his back through some politically tough votes. Chuck Coppola reports. (Published Saturday, April 9, 2016)

    President Barack Obama praised Democratic lawmakers for supporting him through some politically tough votes during a two-day visit to California's Bay Area. 

    "A Democratic Congress is good for America,'' he said.

    Obama attended two Democratic fundraisers Friday, played a round of Golf on Saturday and left the Bay Area shortly after. Accompanied by his daughter, Malia, Obama boarded Air Force One at around 2:30 p.m. to return to Washington D.C. 

    During his Friday fundraisers, Obama criticized Senate Republicans for refusing to consider his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland and said GOP presidential candidates Donald Trump and Ted Cruz aren't "outliers'' but are simply parroting what some congressional Republicans have said for years.

    Obama remarked that the Republicans' refusal to cooperate "threatens how our democracy works," and then added that "things are even more messed up in the house" 

    Obama didn't mention that votes taken by House Democrats, led by then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, to muscle his economic recovery plan and health care law through Congress early in his first term ended up souring the public and costing Democrats the House majority.

    "I've done a lot of tough stuff since I've been president,'' Obama told about 100 supporters who rose to their feet and chanted his "Yes We Can'' campaign slogan at the Pacific Heights home of businessman and philanthropist Gordon Getty.

    "But I couldn't do it unless I had outstanding legislators who had my back, even when it wasn't politically convenient,'' he said, praising Pelosi for her "idealism and just tough as nails conviction and savvy.'' 

    "I could not have had a better partner than Nancy Pelosi.'' The California Democrat holds the fundraiser annually at the Getty home. Couples paid $33,400.

    Turning to the presidential race, Obama said Republicans shouldn't feel embarrassed by the comments from Trump and Cruz, the Texas senator. He said the GOP rivals are saying what some Republican members of Congress have said about immigration and other issues for years.

    "In fact, that's where Trump got it,'' Obama said. "He said, 'You know what, I can deliver this message with more flair.'''

    Obama said he wants a Republican Party that is "rational and well-functioning, but that's not what we have right now. And that's why this election is so important.''

    Outside a fundraiser in Potrero Hill, the president shook hands with neighbors and locals. 

    Obama also praised House Democrats at a fundraiser late Thursday in Los Angeles.

    Pool reporters inside the fundraisers heard the president say the two leading Republicans running for president, Trump and Cruz, had "lifted the veil" off Republican sentiment on such things as "building walls, blocking Muslims and surveiling neighborhoods." 

    Democrats have a good chance to add at least a handful of House seats in November's election. The number could grow if the Republican presidential nominee is Trump, who has alienated large numbers of women, Hispanics and others with his biting rhetoric and issue positions.

    But to regain control of the 435-seat chamber, Democrats would need to pick up 30 seats, which would be an uphill climb.

    Obama's remarks late Thursday opened a two-day fundraising swing through Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Friday brought three more events, including a roundtable for Senate Democratic candidates at the Brentwood home of "Spiderman'' actor Tobey Maguire that was closed to news media coverage. Tickets cost $33,400, officials said.

    Obama also attended a closed Democratic Party event Friday at the San Francisco home of activists Steve Phillips and Susan Sandler.