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Obama visits NYC, hits 'hyper-partisanship'

President Barack Obama arrives to John F. Kennedy

President Barack Obama arrives to John F. Kennedy Airport. (May 13, 2013) Credit: AP

President Barack Obama denounced "hyper-partisanship" in Washington to a group of fundraisers in Manhattan Monday night and said Republicans are less interested in improving the nation's fortunes than winning on Election Day.

"The only thing that's holding us back is a spirit in Washington that isn't reflective of the American people . . . a spirit in Washington that's more concerned about the next election than the next generation," Obama told a ballroom of about 140 diners at a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria New York in midtown.

Tickets for the event ranged from $7,500 to $32,400.

Obama's quick Manhattan fundraising tour occurred amid continuing fallout in Washington over the Benghazi attacks in September, and revelations that the Internal Revenue Service targeted tea party groups and the Justice Department secretly obtained the phone records of editors and reporters for The Associated Press.

The president did not mention the scandals in any of his prepared remarks.

Obama was introduced by Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, one of the event's hosts. Supporters applauded at the president's mentions of affordable health care and immigration.

The hotel stop by Obama followed earlier fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee in TriBeCa and at the West Village home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman.

At the Weinstein fundraiser, Obama told the 60 guests he "was hoping to overcome" Washington's partisan culture when he was elected in 2008. He said what is blocking progress is his GOP rivals' hesitance at ruffling "their base and they're concerned about what Rush Limbaugh might say about them."

Obama also spoke about the April 15 Boston Marathon bombings and the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion on April 17 as tragedies in two different communities that could unite the country.

In TriBeCa, Obama focused on international issues, including Syria.

"Obviously, all of us are deeply concerned about what's happening in Syria and our administration's worked with international partners to mobilize humanitarian aid, nonlethal assistance to the opposition, isolating [Bashar] Assad," Obama said.

Tickets to the DNC events cost between $16,200 and $20,000.

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