President Obama arrives in Seattle for two private fundraisers

SEATTLE - President Barack Obama, visiting Seattle Sunday on the first stop of a West Coast fundraising tour for the Democratic Party, sounded a nostalgic personal note and offered a rare self-assessment while criticizing congressional Republicans as an "impediment" to governing.

Air Force One touched down at Sea-Tac Airport around 4:15 p.m. amid a gorgeous Seattle sunset. The president waved and walked off the plane to a waiting limousine that whisked him to his first fundraising event at the North Seattle home of Tom Campion, co-founder of the clothing chain Zumiez.

The president's motorcade was greeted by dozens of protesters and spectators near Campion's home. Many of the protesters were opposed to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Canada and the northern United States to refineries in the south.

The president then headed across Lake Washington to Medina for a $16,000-per-plate fundraiser at the house of a former Microsoft executive, Jon Shirley.

It was there Obama told donors the sight of Mt. Rainier illuminated by a setting sun was particularly special because it reminded him of his mother, who attended high school in the Seattle area. "I feel the spirit of my mom," he said.

He also attempted to contrast himself with Republicans who control the House of Representatives, saying they are "more focused on positioning themselves for the next election."

"I'm not a particularly ideological person," he said, adding he still is passionate about giving people a fair shake, about the environment, and working for peace and national security. "But I'm pretty pragmatic about how we get there."

It's the second time Obama has visited the Shirley's home, also making a stop there in Sept. 2011.

Obama then made his way to a Downtown Seattle hotel to spend the night before leaving Sea-Tac Airport Monday morning for more fundraisers in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Seattle police are warning of several traffic impacts that will occur around the city and Puget Sound area during the president's stay.