(CNN) — Congressional Democrats, many downright scared of the political fallout from the botched rollout of Obamacare, are getting a boost this week as the President completes a month-long fundraising sprint a year ahead of 2014’s midterm elections.
Obama–who has jetted to New York, Boston, Miami, Dallas and Philadelphia in the past several weeks to help add millions of dollars to Democrats’ campaign coffers–is spending three days on the West Coast convincing donors his falling popularity and the faulty implementation of his signature legislation don’t mean all is lost for the Democratic Party next year.
His stops in the Seattle and San Francisco areas, each near the respective homes of tech giants Microsoft and Apple, come a week ahead of his administration’s deadline for getting the troubled HealthCare.gov back running for most users. The website’s initial failures caused widespread consternation among Democratic lawmakers, many of whom vocally pushed for the Affordable Care Act ahead of its passage in 2010.
In the liberal Pacific Northwest, Obama also faces questions about spying by the National Security Agency and his environmental record. Protesters met him at his first event loudly opposing the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, which his administration has yet to approve.
“It’s understandable I think that sometimes people feel disturbed or concerned about whether or not we can continue to make progress,” Obama told donors at one event in Medina, the wealthy Seattle enclave.
“One thing that I always try to emphasize is that if you look at American history, there have been frequent occasions in which it looked like we had insolvable problems–either economic, political, security–and as long as there were those who stayed steady and clear-eyed and persistent, eventually we came up with an answer,” he continued. “Eventually we were able to work through these challenges and come out better on the other end.”
It’s Obamacare, however, that’s proving to be the most worrisome for Democrats in Congress, many of whom are expressing open concern about the failed rollout of the health website. The digital snafu also served to highlight the number of Americans whose health insurance plans were being canceled under the new law. In 2010, many Democratic lawmakers echoed the President’s vow that if Americans liked their health care plans, they could keep them–a pledge the President has since had to apologize for.
It’s an all-but-certain campaign trail issue for Democrats facing tight races, and while the party’s leaders say their candidates will be able run successfully on the issue, many Democrats seem less certain. Earlier this month, nearly 40 vulnerable House Democrats voted against the President to allow health plans that don’t comply with Obamacare’s standards to continue into 2014.
Speaking Sunday, a White House spokesman said the President remained “very confident” that Democrats could win control of the House in 2014.
“The President thinks there’s good reason for that–specifically, Democrats have laid out a very clear agenda for what they hope to achieve in the next Congress,” Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.
In Seattle, the President attended a pair of events that benefited Democrats–the first, at the home of retailing mogul Tom Campion, raised money for the Democratic National Committee; the second, hosted by former Microsoft executive Jon Shirley, brought in money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Washington State’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, as well as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelsoi, both attended the later event.
When he heads south to California, the President will attend a set of receptions in San Francisco and Los Angeles, including one hosted by Magic Johnson that benefits the DCCC and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
The standard prices for Obama’s receptions were between $16,000 and $32,000, though an event in San Francisco had tickets available for as little as $500.
He’ll also make remarks on immigration at the Betty Ong Chinese Recreation Center in San Francisco Monday, and talk economic matters during a stop at DreamWorks animation in Los Angeles on Tuesday. DreamWorks’ top executive Jeffrey Katzenberg was a top fundraising “bundler” for Obama during his election campaigns, and contributed millions to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA during the 2012 contest.
Earnest, speaking Sunday, said Obama’s fundraising efforts were the best way for the President to ensure a favorable outcome for Democrats next year.
“In an off-year–in the year before an election like this, I think the most tangible way that an incumbent President of either party, frankly, can benefit his party’s prospects in congressional races is to try to help them raise money,” Earnest said, adding he anticipated Obama would maintain his fundraising efforts for Democrats next year.