Obama pokes fun at debate performance

President Obama on Sunday joked about his performance in last week’s first presidential debate, telling an audience in Los Angeles that included many acting and music industry celebrities that unlike them, he didn’t always “perform flawlessly night after night.”

"Everybody here are just incredible professionals. They're such great friends and they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same,” the president told guests to laughter at a star-studded event at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles, according to a White House pool report.

Hollywood stars George Clooney, Jennifer Hudson and musicians Katy Perry, Jon Bon Jovi and Stevie Wonder were among the celebrities in attendance at the “30 Days to Victory Concert.”

The president is on a two-day fundraising tour of California, where he attended a private event with former President Clinton and high-level donors at the home of producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Following the event at the Nokia Theater, Obama also spoke at a fundraising dinner with guests at Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 restaurant.

Obama’s debate performance during Wednesday’s debate in Denver received sharp criticism from many supporters, who believed he came out subdued and did not aggressively challenge GOP rival Mitt Romney. Polls found voters saw Romney as the winner of the first of three debates, and the GOP candidate’s campaign touted the night as a breakout moment.

On Sunday, Obama told supporters that his 2008 campaign had also included “bumps in the road.”

“Things always look good in retrospect,” said the president. “But in the middle of it, we were — we made all kinds of mistakes. We goofed up. I goofed up. But the American people carried us forward.”

He urged his supporters to press on, with just a month left before Election Day. “We've got some work to do,” he said. “Everything we fought for in 2008 is on the line here in 2012. And I need your help to finish what we started. I need your help.”

Obama touted his accomplishments on foreign policy, saying he had kept his promise to wind down the U.S. mission in Iraq and prepare Afghan forces to assume security responsibilities by 2014.

The president also hammered Romney on the GOP candidate’s tax reform plans, repeating charges that he would institute a $5 trillion tax cut.

Both campaigns have accused each other of being dishonest about the scope of Romney’s proposed tax plans, with the Obama campaign claiming Romney’s proposal would burden the middle class with higher taxes or grow the deficit.

The Romney campaign says the plan would push across-the-board tax cuts and that would be deficit neutral because they would boost the economy and bring new revenues.

On Monday, Obama will head to Keene, Calif., where he will deliver remarks at the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument, honoring the civil-rights icon, before he goes to San Francisco for a fundraising concert and dinner.

The West Coast fundraising blitz comes as the Obama campaign announced a record haul of $181 million in September.