Obama to NBA stars: U.S. has 'weathered the worst of the storm' - Boston Herald

By Scott Powers / The Orlando Sentinel
Friday, February 24, 2012 -

ORLANDO, Fla. — President Barack Obama came to the Isleworth mansion of NBA player Vince Carter on Thursday night to talk with basketball stars and a handful of others who could afford the $30,000 ticket about his campaign theme of fairness in America.

Obama told the gathering of 70 people — dining on Carter's personal, indoor basketball court — that he believes "we have weathered the worst of the storm" of a bad economy, but that people everywhere are still hurting.

"Obviously, those here, we've been blessed," Obama said. "But one of the great things about America and one of the great things about professional sports is we've all got cousins, uncles, family members, who are still struggling. And we are reminded we have a lot more work to do."

In addition to Daytona Beach native Carter — a former Orlando Magic player and current member of the Dallas Mavericks — the crowd included Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, as well as NBA Commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, plus former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning.

Others at the party included Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Pembroke Pines, and Orlando lawyer John Morgan.

Obama insisted that the administration is trying to make the economy work again for all, particularly for the middle class "and those who strive to enter the middle class."

"We want success. We want to make sure that somebody like Vince Carder can build a house like this," Obama said, waving to a house with 29,000 square feet of living space — so big it actually dwarfs the full-size, indoor basketball court.

People working toward such success, "might not have the same vertical (leap) as Vince, but they may have just as much talent in the arts or science," he said.

The diners — plus a few stars who couldn't attend, such as the Miami Heat's LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh — paid $30,000 apiece. The first $5,000 of each check went to Obama's re-election campaign, Obama for America, and the rest to the Democratic National Committee. Early estimates indicated the dinner would raise at least $1.2 million, but officials later estimated it brought in $2.1 million.

Thursday's dinner was Obama's third high-dollar Florida fundraiser of the day, including one at the swanky Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables and a $10,000-a-ticket gathering at the Miami home of veteran fundraiser Chris Korge. He was accompanied by Nelson, who's running for re-election, and Wasserman Schultz, the chair of the DNC.

He started the day with an energy speech at the University of Miami, directly confronting Republican criticism of his administration for gasoline prices that are at record levels for this time of year.

"Anybody who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or just isn't telling you the truth," he told an audience of mostly college students, referring to Republican demands that the United States dramatically expand drilling in offshore waters and in the Arctic.

"Well, the American people aren't stupid. They know that's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling. That's a bumper sticker...," the president said. "We've got to have a sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. Yes, oil and gas, but also wind and solar and nuclear and biofuels, and more," he said in Miami.

Republican National Committee spokesman Matt Connelly responded by declaring that Obama was taking credit for policies that weren't his, making promises he could not keep, while trying to lower expectations.

"Sounds an awful lot like a president without a solution," Connelly said. "President Obama has failed to put forward a comprehensive energy plan, and Americans are feeling it at the gas pump."


24 Feb, 2012

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNF7sX0oQTTwRshgJVViTQasEIrJig&url=http://bostonherald.com/news/us_politics/view/20120224obama_to_nba_stars_us_has_weathered_the_worst_of_the_storm
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