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Obama Speaks at DreamWorks

Obama Speaks at DreamWorks

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 Washington and his hope that lawmakers would ``summon  the courage to put politics aside once in a while.''

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 America's biggest exports, and every day you  sell a product that's made in America to the rest of the world,'' he said.

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 DNA, and as a consequence of what you've done, you've helped shape  the world culture in a way that has made the world better.''

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, CEO of the Walt Disney Co.; Katzenberg; Leslie  Moonves, CEO of the CBS Corp.; Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures  Entertainment; Peter Rice, CEO of Fox Networks Group; Kevin Tsujihara, CEO of  Warner Bros.; and Rob Moore, vice chairman of Paramount Pictures Corp.

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 Iran's nuclear  program. He pledged to fight for the remainder of his term to assure ``that  this country provides affordable health care to every single American.''

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 Iran's nuclear program.

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 Los Angeles International Airport shortly after 2  p.m. bound for Washington, D.C.

The trip was Obama's 16th to the Los Angeles area since taking office.  All but three of his trips have included political fundraisers. He has made 10  trips to the area solely for fundraising.

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 TSA  agent to die in the line of duty, and TSA Officers Tony Grigsby and James Speer  who were wounded in the Nov. 1 shooting at Los Angeles International Airport.

 

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