MIAMI (CBSMiami) – For the second time in two weeks, President Obama was in South Florida, this time to attended a fundraiser for Democratic candidates.
He was greeted at Miami International Airport by Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado.
The President addressed a crowd of about 75 people at the Pinecrest home of former Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning Thursday night.
He spoke in the backyard of the columned mansion after an introduction by Mourning’s wife Tracy, who recounted her modest upbringing and her cleaning lady mother who often said she “struggled” when Republicans were in office.
“How do we make sure that folks who work hard and are taking responsibility for themselves and have dreams about something better for their kids, how do we make sure that hard work pays off,” the President asked.
The guest list included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whom the president lauded as “one of our greatest speakers in history”.
A DCCC aide said tickets ranged from $16,200 per person to $32,400 per couple.
Blocks from the Mourning home, protestors gathered with signs including one calling from the President’s impeachment.
“He doesn’t love this country. He wants to change it and that’s the essence of why we’re here,” Jim Smith said.
The fundraiser was Mr. Obama’s second of the day.
He previously stopped in South Miami at the home of Spanish TV host Lili Estefan.
That event, a Democratic National Committee roundtable, attracted some 25 supporters contributing more than $32,000.
Earlier in the day, the Commander in Chief spoke at Valencia College in Orlando, where he touted the importance of better educational opportunities for women.
“College represents what’s best in America. The idea that here in this country, if you work hard, you can get ahead,” the President said.
Just before his Sunshine State swing, the President announced additional sanctions against Russian officials as a result of their actions in Ukraine.
Julia Forest, a Ukraine-born American citizen, hoped to get the President’s attention with her homemade signs near Mourning’s home.
“I think the sanctions are a good thing, but more needs to be done,” she said. “We need military peacekeepers.”
According to pool reports, it doesn’t seem as though President Obama discussed the crisis in Ukraine at the fundraiser.
Instead, his focus was on inspiring voter turnout for the midterm elections.
“In midterms, we get clobbered, either because we don’t think it’s important or because we get so discouraged about what’s happening in Washington that we think it’s not worth our while,” he said. “And the reason today is so important, and the reason that I’m so appreciative for all of you being here is because we’re going to have to get over that. This is a top priority.”
The president waited to take questions after members of the press corps left.
“I’m not on the ballot this time, but I didn’t get into politics just for the office. I got into it because I believe in what we’re fighting for. But I can’t do it alone. Nancy can’t do it alone, Debbie cant’ do it alone. We’re going to need you,” he said, wrapping up his public remarks.
Air Force One took off from Miami International Airport at about 10 p.m.
Earlier this month, the President and First Lady visited Coral Reef High School to talk to students about the importance of getting a college education.
Click here to check out pictures of their visit.