The trials and triumphs of immigrants to the United States were an unexpected theme of a pricey fundraiser in Rockville, Maryland, where President Barack Obama helped raise $400,000 for Democratic Senate candidates on Monday night.
It started with Obama’s introduction by the house party’s host, Rajeev Sharma, chairman of a company, who told the crowd how his parents and in-laws had moved to the United States many years earlier and had worked hard to build a life for their families — one cleaning stalls and one with only 8 dollars in his pocket when he arrived. “They worked hard, became Americans… And now they’re meeting the leader of the free world at the home of their children,” Sharma said, obviously moved.
Obama, whose father was from Kenya, picked up the theme in his comments, making the case to the audience of donors that supporting Democratic candidates would preserve the American dream of immigrants like the Sharma parents.
Obama’s remarks were similar to those he has made at other recent fund-raisers. He touted achievements such as his healthcare overhaul and education reform and acknowledged the difficult political and economic environments.
“We’ve still got to get control of our deficit in a serious way and that’s going to require more than just platitudes, it’s going to require tough choices,” he said, arguing that Democratic candidates, not those beholden to “special interests” would make those choices. “I’ve got to have some partners in Congress who understand what’s at stake,” he said.