President Obama speaks at a campaign event in Los Angeles. (Larry Downing/Reuters)LOS ANGELES — President Barack Obama opened a two-day fundraising swing through California on Sunday with a "30 Days to Victory Concert" starring George Clooney, Jon Bon Jovi, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Hudson. He also seemed to poke fun at his own listless debate performance last week against Mitt Romney.
"Everybody here is incredible professionals, they're such great friends and they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same," Obama said, drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd.
Looking back at 2008, Obama said, "everybody always remembers the victory, but they don't always remember the bumps in the road." "Things always look good in retrospect. But in the middle of it we made all kinds of mistakes. We goofed up. I goofed up. But the American people carried us forward," he said.
About 6,000 people were on hand for the concert, and general admission tickets started at $250. The president was also to deliver remarks at a fundraising dinner with 150 guests at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck's WP24 restaurant. The price of admission there was steeper: A cool $25,000 per person.
Before the concert, Obama's motorcade ran a gauntlet of gawkers and smartphone-camera wielders on the Avenue of the Stars, Wilshire Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard, on the way to Hollywood power-player Jeffrey Katzenberg's home on Loma Vista Drive. Twelve high-dollar donors — they've maxed out in the 2012 campaign — were on hand to get a remarkable chance to talk to Obama and former president Bill Clinton behind closed doors.
The Obama campaign announced on Saturday that the president and the Democrats raised $181 million in September, his richest haul of the 2012 cycle but shy of the $193 million they raised in September 2008.