SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — President Barack Obama took some delight Saturday in the GOP’s struggle to find a new House leader to replace John Boehner.
Obama opened a San Francisco fundraiser with 1,000-plus donors by telling the audience that rapper Kanye West was thinking about running for House speaker.
“Couldn’t get any stranger,” Obama said.
West, who was scheduled to perform, recently said he would run for president in 2020.
President Obama then offered some advice to the rapper.
Tip No. 1: Be cool with spending a lot of time dealing with some strange characters who behave like they’re on a reality TV show.
Tip No. 2 referenced West’s fifth studio album: It’s off-message to say you have a “Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
Tip No. 3 hit West close to home. Obama asked if West really thought Americans would elect a black guy from Chicago with a funny name.
Obama was in California for four fundraisers Saturday, three of them in Los Angeles. NBA star Stephen Curry and other members of the Golden State Warriors warmed up the San Francisco crowd. Those attending the Democratic National Committee fundraiser paid between $250 and $10,000.
Obama encouraged the audience to be politically active and says he plans to remain so when his presidency concludes, saying “I’m just getting started.”
Obama was using his campaign speeches and many others these days to point to progress he said the country has made during the past seven years, from the drop in the unemployment rate, to millions of additional people with health insurance.
But he said GOP candidates are painting a dismal picture for voters.
“There’s almost no measure by which we’re not better off than when I took office and when we started this process for change,” Obama said. “But it does kind of make you wonder. Why are so many Republican politicians so down on America? Why are they so grumpy?”
He got some of his loudest applause when making the case for changes in the nation’s gun laws, saying the amount of gun violence taking place in the U.S. is not normal.
“We know we’ve got to do something to prevent the kind of gun massacres that we see with growing frequency in this country,” Obama said.
Later Saturday in Los Angeles, Obama attended his first fundraiser at the home of movie director J.J. Abrams. He then went to a fundraiser for the DNC where about 200 supporters contributed up $33,400. Jamie Foxx and his band performed before Obama spoke.
Obama returned to the gun issue near the close of his remarks at the DNC fundraiser in Los Angeles. He noted that he went to Oregon the day before to visit with families of those killed at the community college. Two more college shootings occurred on the same day. While some protested during his visit, Obama said he felt just a strongly that such shootings are not inevitable and that the public should encourage lawmakers to take on the gun issue.
The White House said that Obama called Turkish President President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to express his condolences for the twin explosions Saturday that killed at least 95 people attending a peace rally in Ankara.
Obama was scheduled to go to the San Diego area for golf on Sunday and Monday, then head back to Washington.
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