California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton has an offer for the protesters who paid five-figures to interrupt a recent San Francisco fundraiser for President Barack Obama .
"They pay $78-grand, they can come back and insult me... they can take a dump in my salad for $78-grand," the famously foul-mouthed former Democratic legislator and congressman quipped to a group of reporters on the opening night of the state party convention.
On a more serious note, Burton laid out the challenge Obama faces in firing up his base and winning over critics within his own party as he gears up to seek a second term.
"I think a lot of our people are very concerned about the three wars. They're concerned about the spending, too," he said. "They're concerned that that we're spending all this money on three wars and cutting funds for education and poor people and those are cases that have to be made by the president and his campaign."
Burton said he believed the president would win California 53 percent to 47 percent without any added effort -- compared to the 61 percent share he took in 2008.
Whether Obama can generate a high level of enthusiasm for his second bid could matter for California Democrats. Burton said spillover from a successful presidential campaign could help sweep down-ticket Democrats to victory in 2012, a boost that could matter more if the congressional and state legislative district maps drawn by the independent Citizens Redistricting Commission produce more competitive races.
"The president's the guy on the ballot and the motivation's got to come from Washington," he said.
But Burton also said he expects Democrats to turn out to fight back against policies being pushed by Republicans controlling the U.S. House and statehouses across the country, saying proposals to cut Medicare and Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan should be "enough to scare the bejeezus out of anybody."
Just as important as hitting the GOP platform, Burton said, will be highlighting success of the health care law and other political victories in Obama's first term.
"The challenge for us in the Democratic Party is to tell people what the deal is in a positive way," he said.