Appearing at an NBA-themed campaign event in Orlando, Florida, Thursday night, President Barack Obama struck a note of optimism about the economy, saying that "the country has begun to move in the right direction."
The event, which took place at the Orlando home of basketball superstar Vince Carter, was attended by a number of basketball stars as well as by the commissioner of the NBA.
"We've gone through three of the toughest years this country has gone through in my lifetime," the president told the crowd, referring to the economic troubles that have dogged the country since he took office. But, he added, "The general sense is we may have weathered the worst of the storm."
The fundraiser featured 70 guests, each paying $30,000 to attend. The guest list included current and past NBA greats like Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning and Chris Paul, along with NBA commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
The event took place on a full-sized basketball court at Carter's home, where the clock was set to 20:12 and the scores showed 44 - a reference to the fact that Obama is the 44th president of the United States.
The president touched on the basketball theme of the evening, directly referencing Stern and a number other guests. Speaking about Magic Johnson's childhood and the values that the former L.A. Lakers star learned from his father, the president said, "And that's what we're fighting for here. That's the struggle. It has to do with our values and who we are as Americans."
Speaking more generally about the elections coming this fall, the president said that his goal is to move on from just fixing the problems in the economy to addressing some broad social issues.
"What's at stake in this election is whether we as a country are going to continue to look out for one another and be able to say that it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, what your name is, that if you're willing to work hard you can get ahead," he said.
The event followed a speech delivered by the president in Miami earlier in the day, in which he called on the country to refocus the nation's energy production on renewable sources.
In the speech, Obama said that this year's rising gasoline prices highlight the need to move to more renewable sources of energy.
by RTT Staff Writer
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