THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Have a seat, have a seat.
First of all, I just want to say how grateful I am to Ken and John for agreeing to take on the tough task of co-chairing our finance committee here in southern California. They have been great friends and great supporters from the get-go. And I have to say, I did not realize John was that good on the introductions. (Laughter.) I might have to take him on the road. (Laughter.)
I also want to thank Michael and Amy who, you know, this is their shop, letting us crash their space, when I know they're incredibly busy. I was just hearing about Spiderman 4 -- (laughter) -- so I'm all psyched up about that.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Will you play a part?
THE PRESIDENT: Seriously, I was -- (laughter) -- I'm very big on Spiderman. I also want to acknowledge a wonderful public servant, one of the finest mayors in the country -- Antonio Villaraigosa is here. (Applause.)
We set this up so that I am just going to go from table to table and you guys can poke me and prod me -- (laughter) -- you know, lift the hood and kick the tires -- (laughter) -- and give me what I'm sure will be wonderful advice. (Laughter.) Looking around this room, this is not a shy group. (Laughter.)
But what I want to say before I visit with all of you is how grateful I am. You know, many of you were involved in the 2008 campaign and, let's face it, it was not likely that I was going to end up in the Oval Office. It was possible, but not likely. And so many of you took this incredible leap of faith, in part because the campaign wasn't just about me. It was about how we could move the country in a new direction and how could we recapture that sense of community that I think had frayed for too long and it prevented us from dealing with so many challenges that we face.
As John said, we've made incredible progress over the last two and a half years, but we've got so much more work to do. There are still a lot of folks hurting out there. We've got to put people back to work. We've got to grow the economy. We've got to reduce the deficit. We've got to pass immigration reform. We've got to have an energy plan that works for all Americans. And that's before I start talking about international affairs. (Laughter.)
So my inbox keeps on filling up, but I welcome the challenge because I know that I have all of you behind me. I just want to remind you as we're going around to the tables that this is going to be just as hard, if not harder, than 2008 and I'm going to need all of you just as engaged, just as motivated, and taking as much ownership over the campaign as you did then.
That's part of what made 2008 special was you owned it. It wasn't just top-down. That's part of the reason why our campaign office is going to be in Chicago -- first time in modern history that a President hasn't had his campaign office run out of Washington. Because I never want to lose touch, I never want to lose that sense that what this is about is not simply maintaining a status quo but it's about how do we bring about the changes that are going to make a difference in people's lives.
So, thank you, all of you, for being here. Thanks in advance for the extraordinary work that you're going to do over the next 18 months to make sure that we can finish the job that we started. And with that, let me join you all at the tables. Thank you. (Applause.)