President Obama attended a closed-door fundraiser Thursday afternoon at the Washington, D.C., home of Sen. Jay RockefellerJohn (Jay) Davison RockefellerSenate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation Overnight Tech: Trump nominates Dem to FCC | Facebook pulls suspected baseball gunman's pages | Uber board member resigns after sexist comment Trump nominates former FCC Dem for another term MORE (D-W.Va.), whose decision to retire has complicated Democratic efforts to hold the upper chamber.

ADVERTISEMENT
Rockefeller's decision to retire after five terms in the Senate left Republicans with what appears to be an easy pick-up. GOP candidate Shelly Moore Capito has led Democrat Natalie Tennant by double digits in every public poll of West Virginia since June.

Approximately 25 supporters paid up to $32,400 to attend the event, which benefited the Democratic National Committee.

It is the 62nd presidential fundraiser this year, and the 28th where reporters were not admitted to hear part of the president's remarks, according to CBS News reporter Mark Knoller.

The White House on Thursday defended the decision to bar reporters from roundtable-type events, saying the sessions were intended to "foster a more candid and open dialogue where you have donors who are expressing their views."

Press secretary Josh Earnest made his case by citing the Heisenberg Principle, defining the quantum mechanics theory as "the fact of someone observing something necessarily changes what is actually being observed."

"I think that’s at play in a dynamic like this where you have a relatively small group of individuals who are seeking to have a conversation with the president of the United States," Earnest said.

"So what we have done is we have structured this is a way that tries to balance your understandable interest in the pitch that the president makes to donors with the ability of donors to have a frank and candid conversation with the president of the United States in a relatively private setting."