NBCPhiladelphia.com - Rosemary Connors
President Obama visited Philly on Thursday where he spoke at fundraisers and enjoyed some water ice.
President Barack Obama traveled to Philadelphia on Thursday for some money-raising face time with key local supporters.
The President’s first stop was a mid-afternoon reception in Center City at the Hyatt at the Bellevue. The event was sponsored by the DNC’s Generation Forty Four (Gen44) council, a program set up to cultivate and empower a rising generation of party leaders, aged 40 and under.
Gen44 members paid $250 for admission. Others attended after donating $1,000 or $2.500 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012. The event was sold out.
The campaign set a fund-raising goal of $60 million for the quarter ending June 30. The DNC raised $10.5 million in May. More than half, $6.5 million, was pumped in from the Obama Victory Fund.
Both supporters and protesters alike lined up on Broad Street to see the President as he made his way into the Bellevue.
A coalition of immigration activists demonstrated outside the Hyatt. Organizers wanted to urge Pres. Obama to support the Dream Act and move forward on immigration reform proposals.
The Independence Hall Tea Party had an "impromptu 'Fire Obama' press conference" outside the center city hotel.
"We would like to ask the President -- 'Where are all the jobs?'" said Association President, Teri Adams.
Members of the Independence Hall Tea Party, Delaware County Patriots, and others also spoke.
Obama addressed hundreds of smaller donors during a speech at the fundraiser. He spoke of the importance of balancing the budget, but not at all costs.
"I will not reduce our deficit by sacrificing our kid’s education," said Obama. "I’m not going to reduce our deficit by eliminating medical research being done by our scientists. I won’t sacrifice rebuilding our roads and bridges and our railways and our airports. I want Philadelphia to have the best, not the worst."
With the August deadline to potentially raise the National Debt ceiling looming, Obama also addressed the financial crisis.
"We didn’t realize the magnitude of the recession we were facing and the financial crisis," said Obama. "We didn’t realize we had already lost four million jobs by the time I was sworn in. But we knew it was going to be tough, and that was okay. Because I did not run for president to do easy things, I ran for president to do hard things."
After the fundraiser, Obama stopped by John's Water Ice and reportedly chose the lemon flavor.
"I love being in Philly, especially when I have ice like this," said Obama.
Later on, Obama attended a fundraiser at the home of Comcast* Executive Vice President David L. Cohen, in Mount Airy.
The dinner and photo reception offered guests several options for the evening, according to the invitations.
For a $10,000 contribution, guests enjoyed dinner and a photo with the President. "Event hosts” who donated $35,800 or raised $50,000, had premium dinner seating.
Guests who donated $71,600 or raised $100,000, were identified as “event chairs.” That status afforded guests a “VIP clutch” with the President.
Other big events are on the horizon for Obama. Top donors say a large fundraiser in Chicago to celebrate Obama's 50th birthday on Aug. 4 is in the works, along with other events.
*Comcast Corporation owns a controlling interest in NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC 10 Philadelphia.