Monday, October 26, 2009

Pool Report: President Obama in Miami Beach Monday night

By Beth Reinhard of the Miami Herald:

At the Fountainebleau Miami Beach hotel, President Obama gave largely the same speech he gave in New York City last week at a DNC fundraiser. He ticked off his accomplishments: saving economy from brink of disaster, expanding insurance to poor children, ending ban on stem cell research, pledging to close Guantanamo. "I don't rattle. I'm not going to shrink back,'' he said to reassure supporters that his critics don't have him on his heels.
Obama spoke to a reception of about 150 people who had paid the minimum $500 ticket price and then to a room of about 300 bigger donors who were eating dinner across the hall. He began speaking at about 7:12 p.m. and wrapped up across the hall at 7:57 p.m. The fundraiser raised about $1.5 million for the DCCC and DSCC.
Some quotes: "I am absolutely confident we are going to get heath care done by the end of this year."
"We have to take the long view on this process,'' referring to all of the many goals of his administration.
"We are closer than we have ever been to passing healthcare reform,'' he said. But he added, "It's  not going to get easier from here on in. It's going to get harder.''
U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek said he met Obama on the tarmac in Miami, along with Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink (candidate for governor), state Sen. Dan Gelber of Miami Beach (candidate for attorney general), U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.
 About 200 protesters gathered across the street from the hotel with a wide range of gripes, from healthcare to immigration to the president's golf game, which until Sunday had never included a woman. The crowd included Haitians calling for asylum, anti-abortion activists, gun rights advocates and
opponents of toppled Honduran president Manuel Zelaya.
I received this report by email thanks to my participation, as a blogger, in a White House regional media group. Almost every day I get news releases and invitations to listen in on conference calls where Obama administration officials brief  reporters. In my previous life as an AP reporter I occasionally helped cover a visiting president and on a few rare occasions wrote a pool report like this for other reporters who were not able to observe the president in action.
 From other sources and my own observation while headed west on the Julia Tuttle Causeway about 6 pm, I can report that traffic on 41st Street and the east-bound causeway was bad bad bad while the president was in the neighborhood. lt

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