By Justin Sink
President Obama said Wednesday that he would continue reaching across the aisle to Republican lawmakers even if some of his donors "think I'm a sap."
“Unfortunately, right now Washington is not – how do I put this charitably? It’s not as functional as it should be," Obama said. "It could do better.”
The president also pledged to continue his charm offensive with Republicans. Tuesday night, Obama hosted a gathering of the Senate's female members — including four Republicans — at the White House. In previous weeks, the president has dined on multiple occasions with groups of Republican lawmakers in an effort to find common ground on budget and policy issues.
“Occasionally I may make some of you angry because I’m going to reach out to Republicans, and I’m going to keep on doing it,” he said. “Even if some of you think I’m a sap, I’m going to keep on doing it because that’s what I think the country needs.”
The president added that he would still prefer that Democrats control Congress, saying that when his party can set the agenda, "we don't have a country where just a few are doing really well."
The president is in Dallas for the dedication of former President George W. Bush's presidential library on Thursday, and the fundraiser was held in a ritzy neighborhood just a mile away from the home of Obama's predecessor. Obama said he was "really looking forward" to the celebration, which will be attended by all the living former presidents.
"One of the things I will insist upon is whatever our political differences, President Bush loves this country and loves its people and shares that same concern, and was concerned about all people in America, not just those who voted Republican," Obama said. "I think that’s true about him and I think that’s true about most of us.”
The president was joined at the dinner by first lady Michelle Obama and top White House and Democratic officials, including advisers Valerie Jarrett and Dan Pfeiffer; Ron Kirk, the former Dallas mayor and former U.S. Trade Representative; and Henry Munoz III, the DNC's finance chair.
The event was held at the home of Naomi Aberly, a top bundler for both of Obama's presidential campaigns. According to campaign finance records, Aberly has also donated to Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Aberly has also donated to causes including Planned Parenthood and EMILY's List, records show.
Following tomorrow's remarks at the Bush library unveiling, Obama will attend a memorial service for the victims of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion on the campus of Baylor University. The president will then meet with residents of the town before heading back to Washington, the White House said Wednesday.