Earlier Wednesday in San Francisco, the president participated in a closed-door roundtable meeting with 25 local business leaders (ticket price: $35,800), and a fundraising luncheon for 250 (general admission: $5,000).
In San Francisco, Obama mentioned neither same-sex marriage nor the previous day’s Wisconsin election, in which Republican Gov. Scott Walker withstood a Democratic effort to recall him. Obama appeared with baseball legend Willie Mays, California Gov. Jerry Brown and Timothy M. Kaine, who is running for Senate in Virginia after serving as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
But in Los Angeles, where the audience included Cher and “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson, appealing to the gay community was the president’s central message. He recalled working out on a Marine base in Hawaii at Christmastime and having one soldier after another (all fit and with low-body fat, he said, garnering more laughs) thank him for repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“I could not be prouder of the work we’ve done on behalf of the LGBT community,” he said.
The singer Pink was originally scheduled to perform at the gala but canceled because of illness. Criss was the fill-in, and jokingly tweeted on Monday: “ :) So bummed I’ll have to miss my dental appointment to sing for The US President Wed night. thanx @Pink for messin that up!! _#greattiming.”
Asked on Air Force One on Wednesday whether Obama is a fan of “Glee,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said he wasn’t certain.
“I haven’t heard the president talk about that,” Carney said. “I think he has referenced some of the shows he does watch, so I don’t know — I don’t know the answer to your question.”
Money raised at the events will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fund that includes Obama’s reelection campaign, the Democratic National Committee and state Democratic parties.
Staff writer Felicia Sonmez contributed to this report from Washington.