By Amie Parnes
President Obama urged a room of Hollywood executives and employees on Tuesday to "think long and hard" about the messages gun violence sends in movies.
"We gotta make sure that we're not glorifying it," Obama told the crowd at DreamWorks studio, adding that movie executives had a "big responsibility" to the viewing public. "Because the stories you tell shape our children's outlook and their lives."
Obama, who has sought to push tougher gun measures after a string of mass shootings across the country, briefly touched upon meetings Vice President Biden had with Hollywood executives earlier this year. "Those conversations need to continue," he said. "The stories we tell matter," he continued.
On the final day of a three-day trip to the West Coast, the president trumpeted the uptick of the economy, touting the entertainment industry as "one of America's economic engines."
"Entertainment is one of the bright spots of the economy," he said.
Obama sought to pivot away from the rash of negative headlines that have plagued his administration's botched HealthCare.gov website. He blamed Congress for "all the dysfunction and obstruction in Washington."
Seizing on the opportunity to crack a joke before a Tinseltown audience, Obama made a "Godfather" joke, saying Marlon Brando had it easy: "Because when it comes to Congress, there's no such thing as an offer they can't refuse."
Obama's visit to DreamWorks has come under criticism in recent days.
Visual artists planned to protest outside the Glendale studio on Tuesday to voice their concerns about the outsourcing of jobs.
The president has also been criticized for visiting DreamWorks, which is owned by Jeffrey Katzenberg, a major campaign donor.
"DreamWorks obviously is a thriving business and is creating lots of jobs in Southern California," said Josh Earnest, the White House principal deputy press secretary. "And the fact of the matter is Mr. Katzenberg's support for the president's policies has no bearing on our decision to visit here — rather, it's an opportunity."