Usually, everyone bends to his schedule. But Wednesday night, as President Obama spoke to about 60 supporters in Weston, he knew better than to mess with Red Sox fans.
“I do have to get out of here in time so as not to delay the Red Sox game, because if I do, I might never be able to come to Massachusetts again,” he said to laughter.
Obama was speaking inside a heated tent next to the Weston home of Alan and Susan Lewis Solomont, longtime Democratic Party fund-raisers who recently returned from more than three years in Spain, where he served as US ambassador. Fourteen miles away, the Red Sox were preparing to play the game that would win them the World Series.
The event was scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m., but dinner was moved slightly so Obama’s motorcade and its rolling roadblock could be past Fenway Park, on the way to Logan Airport, well before the game’s first pitch at 8:07 p.m. The president ended up passing Fenway with 68 minutes to spare.
But the trip to Weston, following Obama’s speech defending his health care law earlier in the day at Faneuil Hall, wasn’t about baseball. It was about money — specifically, to raise hundreds of thousands for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the arm of the Democratic Party that is focused on winning back control of the US House of Representatives.
Guests arrived to find a town dump truck blocking off the Solomonts’ road. Large pumpkins carved with the letters “DCCC” sat on their front step.
The night began inside the Solomonts’ contemporary house, which was filled with Spanish art from their recent sojourn overseas. Supporters lined up for photos — as well as a moment to chat — with the president.
‘You can’t beat that. Obama and the World Series in the same night.’
Then the group headed outside to the heated tent with a wooden floor, where waiters in tuxedos served wine. The tables were covered with orange cloths, and the tent was illuminated with red and white lights. Steak, sliced potatoes, and beans were served for dinner. Dessert included Red Sox cookies.
A small white dog wearing an Obama 2012 collar padded around the tent, wagging its tail and eating scraps of food that fell to the floor.
The entry fee ranged from $16,200 for one ticket to $64,800 for a couple. Party officials declined to say how much money was raised. Guests included Governor Deval Patrick, filmmaker Ken Burns, former ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt, and US Representative John Tierney.
The speeches began as Alan Solomont introduced the president and presented him with a Red Sox T-shirt and cap.
“I have an American League championship T-shirt and a hat, and I just want to point out, sir, that twice you carried Massachusetts, but you were not able to carry Missouri in either election,” Solomont said, contrasting the hometown team its World Series rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals.
Obama began his remarks by acknowledging other elected officials in the room. “Governor Deval Patrick is who I want to be when I grow up,” he said, to still more laughter. “Love that man.”
He also teased a former US representative from Newton who represented suburbs west and south of Boston. “And someone who is looking slim and cheerful and good- humored, has a glow in his cheeks — this is what, I guess, getting out of Congress looks like — Barney Frank is in the house!” Obama said to applause as Frank smiled.
The president then turned serious, and talked about the difficulties of the past year, including the shooting of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., a tragedy that Obama called the toughest day of his presidency.
“Then we had the bombing in Boston, which was handled with such grace by Deval and Mayor Menino and all the people of this incredible city,” he said.
However, those events did not bring together Congress, he said. Instead, there was “more obstruction and more resistance” that led to last month’s 16-day government shutdown.
“But what keeps me optimistic is when I get out of Washington, and I travel across the country and I meet the American people, their resilience, their strength, their optimism, their stick-to-it-ness, their concern for one another continues to be evident,” Obama said. “It makes you optimistic.”
The president spoke for 10 minutes, and then, after members of the news media were ushered out, answered questions from guests. “The thrust of the questions was, how are we going to get the House back?” said Philip Johnston, a former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic party. “I think his view is, the Republicans have overreached. I think the president is very unhappy about what has happened over the past couple months.”
Frank noted the government shutdown had unexpected benefits.
“People have mixed emotions about the recent congressional events,” Frank said. “They’re sorry about what it meant for the country. But the silver lining of the cloud is it was good for the Democrats.’’
After answering questions, Obama left for the airport, and the guests at gathering dispersed, many heading for Fenway Park or to watch the game on television.
“You can’t beat that,” said Johnston, who flew to Washington and watched the Red Sox play on a Jet Blue seat-back. “Obama and the World Series in the same night.”Kathleen Burge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Globe staffer Matt Viser contributed to this report.