In remarks to about 250 supporters who paid as much as $15,000 per couple to attend a backyard barbecue in Purchase, New York, Obama today said the brutality of Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, and Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, has made Americans anxious about turmoil overseas.
The U.S. has confronted greater dangers and overcame them, including the stand-off with the former Soviet Union following World War II, he said.
“This is not something that’s comparable to the challenges we faced in the Cold War,” Obama said. “This is something we can handle.”
Obama has moved cautiously in confronting Russia’s support for separatists in Ukraine and the Islamic State extremists who have captured swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. On Aug. 8, Obama authorized airstrikes against the militants in Iraq while ordering surveillance flights over Syria.
Yesterday he again ruled out military action in Ukraine, saying a military solution won’t sort out the conflict there with Russia.
“The world has always been messy,” Obama said. “We will get through these challenging times just like we have in the past.”
The event in Purchase was one of three fundraisers Obama was attending today. It was held at the estate of former UBS Americas chief executive officer and longtime supporter Robert Wolf and his wife, Carol Wolf, coordinator for special projects at the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.
Earlier, in New Rochelle, New York, the president met with 25 supporters donating up to $32,400 at a fundraiser hosted by George Logothetis, chief executive officer of New York-based Libra Group, and his wife, Nitzia Logothetis.
Both events were to benefit the Democratic National Committee. The third event, in Newport, Rhode Island, is a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.
Obama, who was originally scheduled to spend the night in New York, plans to return to Washington tonight. He is still set to return to Westchester, New York, tomorrow to attend the wedding of the first family’s personal chef, Sam Kass, who is marrying MSNBC host Alex Wagner.