President Barack Obama, serving as the Democratic Party fundraiser-in-chief during a recent West Coast trip, told supporters that more politicians in Washington need to forget the polls and do what's right.
He also touted the importance of passing laws such as immigration reform through Congress versus operating unilaterally through his office, as some frustrated supporters have pressed for.
Speaking in San Francisco at a private fundraiser Monday, Obama admitted Democrats can be as guilty as Republicans at attempting to curry favor with voters when it comes to promoting certain policy positions.
"Everybody who is in public office is mindful of polls and mindful of how things play; that's the nature of the job and some of it's legitimate [because] you're trying to pay attention to what the people who sent you there are saying," he said.
"But part of public service is also leadership," Obama said.
"It's also saying there are certain things that are right; there are certain things that have to be done even when they're hard; there are certain things where we actively seek to govern and to work with the other side, even if we don't agree with them on 100 percent of things."
Earlier in the day, he had been heckled by a supporter who asked him to use executive order to halt current deportations of undocumented immigrants. The president reiterated his reasoning against that course of action Monday night.
"There is no shortcut to politics and there's no shortcut to democracy and we have to win on the merits of the argument with the American people," Obama said. "As laborious as it seems sometimes, as much misinformation as there is out there sometimes, as frustrating as it may be sometimes, what we have to do is just keep on going, keep on pushing."
At the second of two fundraisers in Beverly Hills, Calif., later Monday, Obama defended his administration's temporary deal struck with Iran on nuclear development.
"This is not politics, these are not games, and the stakes are extraordinarily high," he said, adding that the decision was made not on "political expedience" or what will make a good headline.
"But we make them on the basis of our judgment – my judgment – about what we need to do to keep America safe," he said. "It is the single, most solemn responsibility I have as President of the United States."
Ticket prices for the three fundraisers ranged from $2,500 to $32,500 per person. According to White House pool reports, many of the top congressional Democrats were in attendance for at least one of the fundraisers, as well as Hollywood stars Samuel L. Jackson and Diane Keaton. One Beverly Hills fundraiser was held at former NBA star Magic Johnson's house.