President Obama traveled to Dallas on Wednesday to raise money for Democratic Senate candidates, telling would-be contributors that they need to open their wallets if the party is to prevent Republicans from taking over a second chamber of Congress -- a dynamic, he said, that would perpetuate gridlock in Washington.
Delivering a message that fellow Democrats will almost certainly carry into the 2014 campaigns, Obama charged that allowing Republicans who already run the House to take control of the Senate too would create more crises for the country like the 16-day government shutdown and the near-default on the country's debt.
"If you think things are gridlocked and challenging right now, wait until that happens," Obama said at the home of Peter and Lisa Kraus, where he was joined by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
"So we're going to have to push," Obama said. "This is not going to just fall in our laps. The map is difficult for the Senate this year. And the good news is I'm confident that if our candidates are well-funded and you guys and your friends and colleagues not just here but across Texas and across the country are doing what you can do, I think we're going to win."
The president arrived in Dallas on Wednesday evening fresh from a White House meeting with the Democratic senators up for re-election in 2014. During the meeting, senators vented to the president their concerns about the sloppy debut of Obamacare, a major issue for many of them back home.
Obama said the faulty healthcare.gov website wasn't the only source of troubles for the new health care law. Republicans who want the law to fail have tried in Washington and at the state level to hamstring its implementation by denying funding or blocking the expansion of Medicaid, which is needed to make the new reforms work.
At the home of trial lawyer Russell Budd and his wife, Dorothy, Obama said that elections would be the market force to ultimately change the composition of the Republican Party and make its members more amenable to working with Democrats.
"I have to say that I'm a proud Democrat and am committed to the values that the Democratic Party represents, but I'm also interested in getting the Republican Party back in a functioning state," Obama said. "Because this country has two parties, and we need both of them operating in a way that allows us to move forward."
"And I think that will eventually happen," Obama said. "Voters have an ability I think to help parties self-correct, although sometimes it takes more than one cycle to do it. But in the meantime, we can't just be standing still."