President Barack Obama was given a warm welcome in California on Wednesday, as he highlighted the economic and social victories he has had in the White House, especially as they dealt with strides made in the rights of members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community.
"I could not be prouder of the work that we've done on behalf of the LGBT community," Obama said at a LGBT campaign event at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Los Angeles.
The president highlighted his work to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and pass the Matthew Shepard law, which extends federal hate crime legislation to include violent acts motivated by a victim's actual or perceived gender.
The Obama for American campaign also announced a huge uptick in its May fundraising numbers, which jumped from $43.6 million in April to $60 million last month.
According to CNN, large-scale donors, called bundlers, from the LGBT community accounted for much of the increase.
LGBT bundlers have given around $8 million since January, a large sum considering celebrity fundraisers such as George Clooney have given less, at around $6.8 million in the same time period, CNN reported.
The Washington Post added around one in six Obama bundlers are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, while the Advocate Magazine said it was one in five.
These prominent donors include Newsweb Corp. owner Fred Eychaner and E*Trade CEO Kathy Levinson, the former who has donated over $1 million.
The Los Angeles fundraiser, attended by 600 LGBT activists and celebrities, and two other events in L.A. and San Francisco are expected to bring in another $5 million for the Obama campaign.
The campaign will likely see LGBT donations increase in coming months as the president becomes more fluid in his public support of gay marriage, announced last month.
"There's a fundamentally different vision about what's going on," Obama told supporters in L.A., loosely referring to the difference in social policies between Democrats and Republicans.
"A lot of this debate is going to be about the economy, but also obviously there's a different vision about how we create an inclusive America," He added. "I refused to let anybody re-impose a law that would force [a gay soldier] back into the shadows when he is serving on our behalf and our safety and our security. That's not something I will tolerate."
In his other L.A. and San Francisco events, the president focused more heavily congressional 'to do' list that includes bolstering clean energy, improving education and ensuring veterans have better access to health care and jobs.
"We probably won't see another election that presents a greater contrast between the parties and between the candidates," Obama told supporters in San Francisco.
He added, "When I ran in 2008, I was running against a guy who I had a lot of disagreements with, but he believed in climate change, he believed in campaign finance reform, he believed in immigration reform. The character of the party and the Republicans in Congress had fundamentally shifted."
President Obama will spend the majority of Thursday in Nevada speaking about college affordability and student loan rates before returning to the capital Thursday night.
by RTT Staff Writer
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