GLENDALE (CNS) - Rounding out a two-day Southern California swing, President Barack Obama toured DreamWorks Animation studios in Glendale today and hailed the entertainment industry as an economic ``bright spot'' that reflects positive American values across the globe.
The president, speaking to a crowd of nearly 2,000 people at the DreamWorks campus, also took some swipes at Republicans in Congress, accusing them of obstructing legislation that would improve the lives of middle-class Americans while continuing to battle the Affordable Care Act.
``We would be a lot further along if we could just get folks to act with some sense,'' Obama told the crowd, criticizing lawmakers for taking more than three dozen votes to repeal the health-care law instead of acting on economy-boosting programs and working to improve the nation's infrastructure.
``Instead of rooting for failure or re-fighting old battles, Republicans in Congress need to work with us to improve the things about the Affordable Care Act that aren't working as well as they should,'' he should.
Ryan Mahoney, a deputy press secretary of the Republican National Committee, said earlier that the ``fundamentally flawed and unpopular health care law'' has drawn criticism for problems with its website, the inaccuracy of Obama's promise that people could keep their insurance policies, and thousands of people having their insurance policies canceled.
Obama's roughly 30-minute speech touched on familiar themes, mostly centered on gridlock in
But the president devoted some of his speech to hailing the entertainment industry.
``Entertainment is one of the bright spots of our economy. The gap between what we can do and other countries can do is enormous,'' he said, drawing cheers from the crowd of DreamWorks employees.
Obama said most Americans don't realize how many people are involved behind the scenes of their favorite movies or television shows, noting that ``hundreds of thousands of middle-class jobs'' are supported by the industry.
'`Entertainment is one of
He also hailed the industry as ``part of our American diplomacy.''
``It's part of what makes us exceptional, part of what makes us such a world power,'' he said. `` ... The stories we tell transmit values and ideals about tolerance and diversity and overcoming adversity and creativity that are part of our
Prior to his speech, Obama took a behind-the-scenes tour of the DreamWorks campus, including a demonstration of motion-capture technology being used for the upcoming film ``How to Train Your Dragon 2.'' He then went to a recording studio, where he shook hands with actors Steve Martin and Jim Parsons, who were recording parts for the film ``Home.''
As part of the demonstration, Obama saw a video clip of a purple alien -- with the president's voice -- saying ``Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Welcome to the White House.''
``That'll impress the girls,'' Obama said.
The president also watched as Martin and Parsons voiced a scene for the film.
When he began his speech, the president quipped, ``I would like the work here,'' adding that he had asked DreamWorks head Jeffrey Katzenberg for a job.
Katzenberg raised millions for Obama's 2012 re-election campaign and donated $3 million to the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action.
Obama also joked that ``my ears were one of the inspirations for Shrek.''
The president also met at DreamWorks with a host of entertainment industry executives, speaking with them about topics including piracy and intellectual property rights, according to White House spokesman Josh Earnest.
Among those taking part in the meeting were Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment; Bob Iger,
Before traveling to DreamWorks, Obama attended a morning fundraiser at the Hancock Park home of Marta Kauffman, a co-creator of the 1994-2004 NBC comedy ``Friends.'' The roughly 30 attendees paid up to $32,400 each to hear the president talk at the private event.
The event was the seventh fundraiser in Obama's three-day West Coast trip.
Obama spoke at two Beverly Hills-area fundraisers Monday night to defend the much-criticized Affordable Care Act and an agreement on
Obama spoke for about 20 minutes at a fundraising reception benefiting Democratic House and Senate campaign committees at the Beverly Park home Basketball Hall of Fame member Earvin ``Magic'' Johnson. Tickets were priced from $2,500 to $15,000 per person.
Obama later spoke for 14 minutes at a dinner at the Beverly Hills-area home of Saban Capital Group Chairman Haim Saban, an Egyptian-born former Israeli, focusing on the agreement on
Approximately 120 people attended the dinner, including Mayor Eric Garcetti and Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks. Tickets were priced at $16,200 each.
Both fundraisers benefited the House Senate Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee between the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
Obama took off from
efore attending the Monday night fundraisers, Obama traveled by motorcade to The Beverly Hilton where he met with the family of slain Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez, the first