PROVIDENCE — Final stop for President Barack Obama was a $7,500-a-head fundraiser in the well-appointed home of Arnold “Buff” and Johnnie Chace on the East Side of Providence not far from Brown University. Fewer than 50 were in attendance, according to Eric Hyers, campaign manager for Providence Mayor David N. Cicilline, the Democratic candidate for the House seat being vacated by Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy.
The gathering took place in a living room that featured several oil paintings — portraits over the facing fireplaces at either end of the room, a seascape, some landscapes and a rustic scene of people in red hunting caps.
Guests included three of the four-member Rhode Island Democratic congressional delegation — Rhode Island Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse and Kennedy. Rep. James R. Langevin had left the presidential party at an earlier stop.
Also on hand: Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee — who introduced the president — and Cicilline.
In attendance too, was consultant Ira Magaziner, the Rhode Islander who managed former President Bill Clinton’s unsuccessful health care initiative.
Guests wore business attire, suits and ties, skirts and pantsuits, dark colors predominating.
Magaziner won a friendly acknowledgement from Obama: “He was there for the last round in 1994,” said the president, referring to the health care initiative, “he knows how tough it is.”
The president spoke for around 20 minutes, touching some of the same points he had made during his earlier visit to the factory in Woonsocket:
- On the economy: The unemployment rate might be 12 or 13 percent today had it not been for administration policies.
- On the mood of the electorate: “It’s not surprising that the country is angry and the country is frustrated.”
- On GOP strategy: It’s “to try to ride that anger for as long as possible.”
- On the administration’s accomplishment’s accomplishments; “I could not be prouder” of a record that includes the largest spending on infrastructure since the Eisenhower administration, the largest increase in national service since the Peace Corps and Wall Street reform.
Obama concluded his remarks at about 7:30. saying he couldn’t stay for dinner. “I’ve got to go home to tuck in the girls and walk the dog and scoop the poop,” he said.
Motorcade rolled to the airport at about 7:35 p.m.
Pool reporting from The Providence Journal.