Obama to Dems: Don't 'take it easy'

President Obama warned Democratic fundraisers they couldn't "take it easy" in 2014, or they risked getting "walloped" like the party did during his first term.

Speaking at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser in Boston, Obama warned that, "too often when there's not a presidential election," members of his party "don't think it's sexy."

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"I hope just because I'm not on the ballot, people don't take it easy this time," Obama said.

The president said he understood the excitement about the next presidential cycle, and he is committed to electing a Democrat to follow him.

"Nobody is going to be more invested in wanting a Democrat to succeed them," Obama said.

But the president said it was a "remarkably tumultuous time," and focusing on the midterms was important.

Obama was addressing a crowd of 75 at the Artists for Humanity EpiCenter in Boston, where tickets ranged between $5,000 and $20,000. It was his second fundraiser of the night, following a closed-press roundtable discussion in Cambridge, Mass., where attendees contributed up to $32,400.

Among the attendees: former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.), who held up his son, Owen Patrick Kennedy, at the start of the event.

"When are you running?" Obama quipped. "Isn't that how it works?"

The president is looking to build Democrats' coffers and momentum ahead of what is shaping up to be a bruising 2014 campaign.

In the Senate, Democrats are defending 21 of the 36 seats up this fall, and election watchers widely expect the party to lose seats, as they protect a fragile six-seat majority. Democrats in red states like South Dakota, West Virginia and Montana have retired, and Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Kay Hagan (N.C.) are facing tough races.

In the House, Democrats are unlikely to pick up the 17 seats they need to win back control of the chamber from the Republicans.

But the White House is looking to do whatever it can, committing Obama to attend 18 events for the Democratic National Committee through June and an additional dozen events for the Democratic Senate, House, and governor campaign committees.