At high-dollar fundraisers, Obama laments D.C. gridlock

President Obama waves to members of the news media as he walks across the South Lawn while departing the White House May 13, 2013 in Washington, D.C.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama told high-dollar donors at a New York fundraiser Monday that politicians in Washington who are more interested in campaigning than governing should face the "consequences" in the next election cycle.

"My intentions over the next three-and-a-half years are to govern," Mr. Obama said at the first of two fundraisers he attended in New York City on Monday, on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). "If there are folks who are more interested in winning elections than they are thinking about the next generation then I want to make sure there are consequences to that."

While Mr. Obama isn't running for office, he has committed to aggressively fundraising for Democrats in Congress this year, ahead of the 2014 midterms. At the Monday afternoon event, hosted by Harvey Weinstein and Georgina Chapman, the president appealed to the likes of Justin Timberlake, Tommy Hilfiger and about 65 other Democratic supporters.

About 60 were expected to attend the second fundraiser, a dinner hosted by Alexandra Stanton and Sam Natapoff. Tickets to both events ranged from $16,200 to $20,000, according to a DNC official.

Mr. Obama spoke about visiting Boston after the marathon bombing, as well as visiting West, Texas, after the fertilizer plant explosion. Both tragic events, he said, inspired a sense of community.

"More than anything, what I will be striving for over the next three-and-a-half years is to see if that spirit we saw in Boston and West, Texas, if we can institutionalize that," he said. "If we can create a framework where everybody's working together and moving this country forward."

He blamed "a sort of hyper-partisanship in Washington" for "the kind of gridlock that makes people cynical about government," though he said he believes there are Republicans who would like to work with him, "but they're fearful of their base and they're concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them."

Mr. Obama is also attending a joint fundraiser Monday for the DNC and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the House Democrats' campaign arm. About 140 people are expected to attend the event, at the Waldorf Astoria, with tickets ranging from $7,500 to $32,400 per person.