Republicans rarely miss an opportunity to needle President Obama about his affinity for the world of celebrities.
Their latest target is Obama's West Coast fund-raising tour this week, which included an event in Seattle and a glittering Los Angeles dinner with entertainment-industry stars at the home of actor George Clooney Thursday night. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus dubbed Obama the "celebrity in chief" and criticized him for his willingness "to hobnob with celebrities while the middle class continues to be squeezed by Obama's policies."
Kirsten Kukowski, an RNC spokeswoman, condemned Obama for telling a fund-raising event that sometimes he forgets the depth of the country's economic problems when he first took office.
"While on his celebrity fund-raising tour, the president admitted what we already knew—he forgot about the recession," Kukowski told reporters Friday morning in an email. "Clearly the president is out of touch with America's problems, which explains how he forgot to address unemployment, forgot to address the housing crisis, forgot to address the debt, forgot to address soaring energy costs, and forgot to change Washington."
She was referring to Obama's remarks in Seattle Thursday, when he reminded his audience that the country had almost descended into an economic catasrophe because of policies in place before he took office. Obama said the nation had endured "the worst crisis that we've seen since the Great Depression," and he added: "Sometimes people forget the magnitude of it, you know? ...Sometimes I forget." But he argued that his policies have averted the crisis and the economy is now on the mend.
At the George Clooney fund-raiser Thursday night, Obama's campaign raised more than $14 million. About 150 donors attended at a cost of $40,000 apiece, according to the Associated Press. The event also raised money by raffling off tickets to small donors.
Ken Walsh covers the White House and politics for U.S. News. He writes a daily blog, "Ken Walsh's Washington," and is the author of "The Presidency" column for the U.S. News Weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter.