Obama Out for Big Bucks in Big Apple
President Obama spent less than three hours in Walt Disney World today for an official event to promote U.S. tourism jobs. Tonight he'll spend twice as long in New York City fighting for his own, attending four re-election fundraisers that will net millions of dollars for his escalating campaign.
Obama will mingle first with two groups of Jewish supporters at the Upper East Side Manhattan restaurant Daniel, run by star chef Daniel Boulud, that features "award-winning continental French cuisine" and a bargain 3-course prix fixe menu for $108 on an average night, according to the chef's website.
The president will speak to 100 supporters who paid at least $5,000 per person to attend, then he'll address a more exclusive group of 60 donors, each forking over $15,000 or more, a campaign official told ABC News.
Later, Obama will stop by the private residence of movie director Spike Lee, who is hosting a swanky reception for 45 guests at his Upper East Side brownstone. Tickets cost $35,800 apiece, the official said, the combined legal maximum an individual can give to both Obama and the Democratic National Committee.
Obama will close out his night in the Big Apple at a star-studded concert at Harlem's historic Apollo Theater, emceed by Tony Award-winning composer and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda with performances by soul singer Al Green and India.Arie. The event, expected to draw 1,4000 supporters, cost $200 per person for general admission, the official said, with a small number of half price tickets going to younger "Gen44? donors.
Tonight's events are estimated to raise at least $3.25 million combined for Obama and Democrats in 2012.
All money flows to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising account between the Democratic National Committee and the Obama Campaign. The first $5,000 of an individual contribution goes to Obama; the remainder, up to $30,800, goes to the DNC.
While White House spokesman Jay Carney has said Obama is maintaining a "relatively low" level of engagement in his re-election campaign "because he has work to do as president," the New York visit indicates Obama is stepping up his fundraising pace to start 2012.
Obama has averaged one fundraiser every two days so far this year, personally attending 10 campaign events in the less than three weeks since he returned from his Hawaiian vacation.
The early 2012 visit to New York also underscores the importance of Big Apple donors to bankrolling his second term bid. New York City is the top metropolitan area contributing to Obama's campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, yielding at least $4.5 million through Sept. 30, 2011.
Last week, the Obama campaign reported raising $42 million between October and December last year, bringing its total for 2011 to $131 million.
Combined with funds raised by the Democratic National Committee, which will work in tandem with the president, the total exceeds $220 million. The numbers are on pace to match or exceed the record $750 million Obama raised in 2008.