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Obama Sweeps Into Stamford To Raise Cash For Democratic Party

President Barack Obama swoops into Stamford for an exclusive fundraiser at the home of local philanthropist Michael Whittingham. The event was a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.
President Barack Obama swoops into Stamford for an exclusive fundraiser at the home of local philanthropist Michael Whittingham. The event was a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- President Barack Obama's visit to Stamford for a private fundraiser Wednesday afternoon is expected to have a big payoff for the Democratic National Committee.

Obama is meeting with donors at the North Stamford home of philanthropist Michael and Terran Whittingham, where guests are spending $33,400 each to attend. The donors are meeting with the president in a nonpublic event that also excludes all of the press.

The president flew into nearby Westchester County Airport just after 3 p.m. Wednesday and was scheduled to depart before 6 p.m. He was traveling by motorcade to the event, and law enforcement warned of possible traffic delays on the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich and Stamford as well as on backroads in both towns.

Stamford Mayor David Martin said he welcomes the president's visit to the city -- no matter how brief.

"I think it is a symbol of the importance of our community," Martin said. "Whether they are coming to make announcements or whether they are coming for fundraisers, nevertheless, it says that Stamford is important and not only is it a symbol. But the president knows where Stamford is and that is also special."

Martin was not attending the event, and he joked that he wouldn't be meeting with Obama on Wednesday.

"I don't think his schedule allows him time to come see me," Martin joked. 

According to a press pool report, Obama is doing a "DNC roundtable fundraiser" with approximately 30 supporters at the Whittinghams' home. 

The 20-minute motorcade was described as "uneventful," by the press pool report. The North Stamford area was described as a "leafy neighborhood of large estates." Reporters traveling with the president were "holding in a four-car garage" during the event. 

Obama began his day at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, where he gave the commencement address to this year's 218-strong graduating class.

He used the occasion to warn about the dangers of climate change and said it poses a risk to the security of the United States.

"I'm here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security," Obama said according to pool reports of the event. "It will impact how our military defends our country. And so we need to act — and we need to act now. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces."

It was Obama's first visit to the Nutmeg State since he spoke at an election rally in Bridgeport the weekend before November's election. Democrats nationwide were trounced, but Gov. Dannel Malloy and Connecticut's five Democratic congressmen were re-elected.

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