NEW YORK – President Barack Obama on Sunday praised Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her intellect, fortitude and "unerring" judgment and blasted "the other guy," Republican Donald Trump, on his New York home turf as unqualified to be president and uninterested in learning enough to make the hard decisions the job requires.
Obama addressed a dinner crowd of about 65 people at a fundraiser at the Gramercy Park home of restaurateur Danny Meyer and his wife, Audrey. Attendees contributed $25,000. Event co-chairs gave $100,000, while chairs raised or contributed $250,000, officials said. Proceeds will benefit the Democratic National Committee, state parties and the Clinton campaign.
"This is somebody who is smart, who is tough and, most importantly, cares deeply about making sure that this country works for everybody and not just a few," Obama said of Clinton. "And she's displayed it again and again and again. And when I said that I think she is somebody who is as qualified as any individual who has ever run for this office, I meant it."
Obama said Clinton has been disciplined and extraordinarily effective in every job she's held.
"And then there's the other guy," he said, drawing laughter. "You all know him because he's from New York. Some of you may have done business with him. If you have, it doesn't sound like it's been a pleasant experience."
Obama went on to criticize Trump. "He shows no interest in even gaining the rudimentary knowledge required to make really hard decisions on a day-to-day basis. There's no curiosity, no desire to get up to speed."
Obama said the November election shouldn't be close but predicted "it will be." Clinton has lost ground to Trump in some state and national polls in recent weeks and is looking to their first one-on-one debate a week from Monday to swing some momentum behind her.
Obama has vowed "to work as hard as I can" to help elect Clinton in November, in large measure to ensure the longevity of key parts of his legacy. At the fundraiser, he said he was confident the American people will "make a good decision and we're going to win this thing."
He campaigned for his former secretary of state last week in Philadelphia in his first solo appearance on her behalf. Neither the White House nor Clinton's team has said when and where the president will travel next to argue the case for Clinton, but Obama is expected to spend the bulk of October on the road campaigning for her.
The president was staying in New York City through midday Wednesday to participate in his eighth and final meeting of the U.N. General Assembly, likely one of his last major appearances on the world stage before he leaves office in January. He is scheduled to address the high-level meeting of world leaders on Tuesday.
Obama also has scheduled one-on-one meetings with the leaders of Iraq, Israel, Nigeria and Colombia, as well as a top Chinese official.
Sunday night's fundraiser was the first of two on Obama's New York schedule. He was raising money for the Senate Democrats' fundraising arm at a closed event Monday.