In the nation’s capital for President Barack Obama’s second-term inauguration today, Los Angeles City Councilman and mayoral hopeful Eric Garcetti applauded the “fighting spirit” of the president’s speech.
“This might be more significant than the first time, because now it really seems real,” Garcetti said in a phone interview. “The first term was an improbable accomplishment of history. Now it’s time to make some history in terms of the work of putting the country back on track.”
Garcetti will attend a White House reception with the president tonight.
He said the president’s speech was “unifying, but strong and enthusiastic, like he wanted you to work, like he was focused on what’s possible.”
Garcetti noted the president’s emphasis on equality.
“Everybody’s always said we’ve been on a march to make the words of the Declaration of Independence mean something real. But I think for the first time it’s becoming real for everybody, whether you’re gay, whether you’re an immigrant, whether your somebody who wants a balanced budget,” Garcetti said.
“This could be the time. I just think there’s tremendous optimism that I haven’t seen in probably four or five years.”
If he had the president’s ear, Garcetti would urge Obama to “stay focused on economic recovery and jobs. Stay focused on our cities, the engines of growth, and stay focused on continuing to expand the American promise to everybody …
“In Los Angeles, we want to see immigrants come out of the shadows. We want to see continuing gun violence in our cities reduced. And we want the promise that if people study hard, work hard they can have a decent job with decent pay,” he said. “That simple focus would help Los Angeles do the rest of its work to roar back in the next four years.”
Garcetti was co-chair of Obama campaign in California.
When asked if would seek the president’s endorsement in his run for mayor, he said: “I’m a very strong supporter and a long-time friend of this president. I support him wholeheartedly in what he is doing. I don’t expect him to be directly involved in the mayor’s campaign, but I certainly will work hard to reach out to him.”