By Justin Sink
President Obama struck a nostalgic tone about his hometown of Chicago at a fundraiser Wednesday night darkened by reports of a mass shooting at the Fort Hood base in Texas.
The president told attendees at the fundraiser, held at the Lincoln Park home of a top donor, that he was late because of the situation developing at the military base.
"We're monitoring the situation carefully," Obama said, echoing a statement he made earlier in the afternoon at a Chicago steakhouse where he held the first of two fundraisers benefiting the Democratic National Committee.
Obama did not dwell on the shooting, instead telling donors that being back home was "invigorating, and it reminds you of why you got into this business in the first place — because you got a lot of people here who have taught me a lot about community, friendship and family and for that reason I'm really grateful."
"As I look around this room, I'm reminded of all the pieces of myself that are connected to individuals in this room," Obama said. "There are people here who have been friends of mine for a couple of decades now. There are folks here who were with me when nobody gave me a chance to even get to the U.S. Senate."
He told attendees at the fundraiser that although he had told first lady Michelle Obama that 2012 was his last campaign, the upcoming midterms would be his last contest.
"We need to hang on the Senate," Obama said. "We need to pick up seats in the House. We need to make sure that the public knows very clearly what is at stake in this election and it's hard during midterms because Democrats have a tendency to get really excited during presidential years and then during the midterms we go into hibernation."
The 60 guests gathered at the home of Grace Tsao-Wu and Craig Freedman and paid up to $10,000 to attend. At the closed-press earlier Wednesday, approximately 25 supporters contributed up to $32,400, according to a Democratic official.