President Obama lunched in Washington today with four grassroots supporters and winners of his re-election campaign’s “Lunch with Barack” fundraising sweepstakes.
His guests, who all hail from 2012 battleground states, included early-childhood special needs teacher Kathie Toigo, 64, of Nevada; U.S. Army veteran and Horticulture student Bill Blackwelder, 31, of North Carolina; U.S. Postal Service worker Val Grossmann, 54, of Colorado; and firefighter Scott Zoebisch, 34, of Atlanta, according to a spokesman for the campaign.
An Obama campaign official declined to comment on how many supporters entered the meal-with-Barack sweepstakes or how much the program has raised. Donors had to give at least $3 during the third quarter to qualify for the drawing.
The meal, Obama’s 3rd as part of a campaign fundraising contest, took place at the Dupont Circle restaurant “Scion,” which is run by a Chinese immigrant family and features Asian-influenced American cuisine, according to their website.
The president sat with shirtsleeves rolled up at a small square table with his guests inside the restaurant, which had been emptied of other diners.
As the group exchanged small talk about their families, one man said his six year-old daughter was very excited her dad was meeting the president and gave him questions to pass along.
Obama smiled and joked in response that he does very well with that demographic. “They think I look like a cartoon character with the big ears and everything,” he said. ”And they like saying my name.”
As an interesting aside, the name ‘Scion’ means “descendant or heir; offshoot; or, progeny.” It’s a likely coincidental but not inaccurate description for how Obama views his growing army of grassroots campaign surrogates and volunteers like those he dined with today.
“Nobody is a better message for the kind of change we’re talking about than you,” Obama told Iowa Democrats by webcast Tuesday. “I will put my money on you. I find you a lot more persuasive than anybody on TV and that’s why I know we’re going to win.”
Obama last shared a meal with campaign supporters on Oct. 28 at Liberty Tavern in Arlington, Va. Following the event, the campaign released a highly-produced (and highly edited), eight-minute reality TV-style video documenting the event.