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Obama talks up tax plan at West Hollywood fundraiser

September 26, 2011 |  8:58 pm

Obama and Ferguson

President Obama brought his call for higher taxes on the wealthy to the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip on Monday evening, where he mocked Republicans for calling his fiscal agenda "class warfare."

"If asking a billionaire to pay the same tax rate as a plumber is class warfare, then sign me up," Obama told hundreds of supporters who cheered the president at a fundraiser for his reelection campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Obama's stop at the West Hollywood nightclub was one of the last on a California fundraising swing. He urged the crowd to pressure members of Congress to approve his economic agenda.

"I shouldn’t be paying a lower effective rate than a teacher or a firefighter or a construction worker," said Obama, whose book sales have made him wealthy. He said the nation could not "just cut our way out of this problem.

"We’re laying off teachers in droves, right here in California," he said. "It doesn’t make any sense. It’s unfair to our kids."

About 800 people paid $250 or more each to see Obama at the House of Blues, crowding onto the dance floor and a second-floor balcony. When he asked whether any members of Congress were in the house, a few people pointed to Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) on the balcony, but it was unclear whether Obama recognized her.

"Hey, how are you?" the president called out to her without mentioning her name. But his remarks were interrupted by a heckler directly in front of him on the dance floor. The man's shouts about loving Jesus were drowned out by the crowd chanting "Four more years." As security agents dragged the man past a bar toward the exit, the heckler screamed, “Barack Obama’s the anti-Christ.”

Later, as Obama was running down a list of accomplishments in office, another man called out, "Don’t forget medical marijuana." Dodging the issue, Obama smiled and said, "Thank you for that."

Obama’s remarks followed brief performances by rapper B.o.B, who sang his hit tunes "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes," and the West Hollywood Gay Men’s Chorus, which sang "True Colors" and "We Belong."

Obama was introduced by actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who plays a gay character on "Modern Family." The actor praised Obama for the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law banning openly gay people from serving in the military, calling it "the signature civil rights accomplishment of our time."

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Obama arrives at Westside restaurant as streets remain closed

-- Michael Finnegan

Photo: President Obama shakes hands with actor Jesse Tyler Ferguson of ABC's "Modern Family" at the House of Blues. Credit: Getty Images

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