Barack Obama photo

Remarks at an Obama Victory Fund 2012 Fundraiser in San Francisco, California

October 08, 2012

The President. Thank you! Thank you so much, everybody. It's good to be back in San Francisco. Thank you. Everybody, have a seat, have a seat.

I've already had a chance to say hello to everybody. Pam, that was—where did Pam go? There she is. That was the sweetest introduction I've had since I've been President, and it means so much. I know that many of you are wondering, why does she look so much younger than him? [Laughter] And all I can say is genes. [Laughter]

But Pam has been a great friend, a great supporter. We've known each other for a long time. And it's true that actually the environment that we grew up in, I think for both of us, still provides us a certain ballast. Sometimes people wonder why it is that I seem pretty even keeled. And I'd like to think that part of it is that's how I'm hardwired, but part of it is, when you spent your formative years in Hawaii, you think to yourself, it can't be that bad. [Laughter] And if it is, then you go to Sandy Beach, and you bodysurf, and you feel fine afterwards. [Laughter] It washes away all worries.

So I'm not going to spend a long time making a speech at the top end because I think we're going to reserve some time for questions. Most of you have been great friends for many years. Many of you supported me when I was running for the United States Senate, much less running for President. And so I think you know who I am and you know what I care about. And all I'm going to do is just talk a little bit about this campaign, which has 29 days left.

Some of you know that Michelle and I celebrated our 20th anniversary. It wasn't the most romantic setting—[Laughter]—the actual anniversary. So it was on debate night, so as a consequence, we then scheduled for date night on Saturday. And we went out and snuck our way through Washington, got to a restaurant in Georgetown. And there was a little private room, because although sometimes we're able to sit in where everybody else is sitting, sometimes people lean over and are kind of listening in to what we're saying, and I wanted to make sure that I was giving my wife undivided attention.

And it was a wonderful dinner, and we had a great time. And the waiter, a young man, couldn't have been sweeter, very unobtrusive, didn't say much; just was doing a great job. At the end, as I was signing the check—and yes, I do still have a credit card. I mean, I—[Laughter]—sometimes, it takes me a while to find it. [Laughter] At the end, I handed him over the credit card, and he said, "Mr. President, I hope you don't mind, I hope I'm not being obtrusive, but I just want you to know that you saved my mom's life." And I said, "Well, of course I don't mind, but what do you mean?" And he said: "Well, my mother had a stroke. She didn't yet qualify for Medicare. And because of the health care law, she was able to get insurance and can pay for her medications. And so I just want you to know that that meant a lot to me, and I hope you didn't mind me saying that."

And as he went out, I told Michelle that probably once a day I get something like that, maybe not always as dramatic. But every time I have a conversation like that, it reminds me that what we do is not sport. It's not simply about who's up and who's down and polls and how much money is raised and so forth. Ultimately, it's about that young man and his mom and the belief that in this great country of ours, we're going to make sure that every single person is treated with dignity and with respect and that they're going to have a chance, if they're willing to work hard and take responsibility, to live a full and fruitful life. That's why we do this. That's what these events are about. It's in service of this larger goal.

And sometimes, we lose sight of that. But with 29 days left in this campaign, I hope none of you lose sight of it, because we've got a lot more work to do. We've got a lot more work to do to win the election, and then we have a lot more work to do to actually deliver on the promise.

When we were in Grant Park in 2008, I explained this is not the end point; this is simply the end of the beginning. And now we've got to get started to really deliver on the incredible possibilities and promise of this country if we make good decisions and we keep the future of our kids and our grandkids in mind in everything that we do.

Now, having said all that, Pam is right that I am pretty competitive, and I very much intend to win this election. But we're only going to do it if everybody is almost obsessive for the next 29 days. So most of you have contributed to the campaign, but there is more than you can do over the next 29 days. There's a phone call you can make. There's an e-mail you can send. There is a trip into Nevada you can do to knock on doors. There are cousins and uncles and friends in battleground States all across the country.

You need to mobilize every resource that you've got to make sure that we bring this home. And I'm confident we will, but we can't take anything for granted.

So with that, let me just open it up to some questions.

Note: The President spoke at 7:07 p.m. at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. In his remarks, he referred to Pamela Hamamoto, a former classmate from the Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. Audio was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

Barack Obama, Remarks at an Obama Victory Fund 2012 Fundraiser in San Francisco, California Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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