TIME 2016 elections

Democrats’ 2014 Message In One Paragraph

President Obama laid out his party's top talking points for the midterm elections on Wednesday, explaining in a quick 175 words that universal pre-K and pay equity will take precedence, in a move designed to reach out to traditional constituencies

Before a crowd of Hollywood big-shots Wednesday night in Los Angeles, President Barack Obama laid out his party’s midterm messaging in a single paragraph.

Speaking at a joint fundraiser at the home of Disney chairman Alan Horn for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Obama presented the contrast between Democrats and Republicans going into this fall’s campaign.

We believe in pay equity; they say, no. We believe in a higher minimum wage; they say, no. We believe in making sure that we’re investing in our infrastructure and putting people back to work, and investing in innovation and basic research that can unlock cures for things like Alzheimer’s; their budget takes us in the opposite direction. We believe in early childhood education to make sure that opportunity for all actually means something, that it’s not just a slogan; they say, no. We think climate change is real. Some of them say it’s a hoax, that we’re fabricating it. And the biggest challenge we have is not just that there’s a fundamental difference in vision and where we want to take the country, not just the fact that they continue to subscribe to a top-down approach to economic growth and opportunity and we believe that the economy works better when it works for everybody and that real growth happens from the bottom up and the middle out.

In those 175 words, Obama touched on the basic talking points for Democrats this fall as they try to move beyond the still-unpopular Affordable Care Act to issues like pay and income inequality and universal pre-K. The poll-tested message, which was the centerpiece of the President’s State of the Union Address under the tagline “Opportunity for All,” is designed to reach out to traditional Democratic constituencies that may be slow to head to the polls in November.

With an audience of Democratic faithful like Barbra Streisand, James Brolin and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Obama tried to rally the troops to the midterm cause, even as much of the party has been distracted by a potential Hillary Clinton candidacy in 2016.

“So my main message to all of you is feel a sense of urgency about this election,” Obama said. “This is my last campaign, and I’m going to put everything I’ve got into it, but I need you to feel that this is just as important—because we can’t afford to wait until 2016.”

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