Obama Hits 100th Fundraiser on $5M New York City Haul

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Photo

President Obama Thursday night will attend his 100 th re-election fundraiser during a visit to New York City that's expected to raise at least $5.1 million for the 2012 campaign.

Obama will mingle with some of his wealthiest benefactors at four separate Manhattan events, including two intimate receptions at private homes, a swanky dinner at ABC Kitchen and a star-studded gala featuring musical performances by The Roots, Ben Folds and Ingrid Michaelson.

The fundraising trip, the president's second to the Big Apple this year, comes as the Obama campaign makes an aggressive push for cash to counteract what they see as the looming influence of pro-Republican super PACs.

It also marks an effort by Obama to rekindle his relationship with donors in the financial sector who were among his most generous backers in 2008 but have not yet matched that level of support. He raised nearly $16 million from contributors in the securities and investment business in 2008, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, but only $2.3 million so far this cycle.

Among the hosts of Obama's New York events are seven of his top campaign financiers, or bundlers, who have maxed out contributions to the president and Democratic National Committee and amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars from their friends and colleagues who have done the same.

They include UBS Americas chairman and Obama golfing partner Robert Wolf; Observatory Group co-founder Jane Hartley; Pfizer executive Sally Susman; Chelsea Piers president Tom Bernstein and Centerview Partners co-founder Blair Effron. Each has bundled more than $500,000 for Obama this election cycle, according to the president's campaign.

One hundred guests are expected at the first event - a private reception - where tickets started at $5,000 apiece, a campaign official said.

Obama then joins 80 supporters at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen where dinner cost $35,800 a plate. He then speaks to a larger gala of 900 guests at the adjoining ABC Carpet & Home department store hosted by author Deepak Chopra, music executive Russell Simmons and others. Tickets for the gala started at $1,000.

Obama wraps up his evening with another reception at a private residence with 90 guests, each paying $10,000 to attend, according to a campaign official.

The proceeds from all the fundraisers benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account that funnels the first $5,000 of an individual's contribution to the Obama campaign and the remainder, up to $30,800, to the DNC.

Obama's stops in New York follow an economic speech in Nashua, N.H., earlier in the day, continuing a recent string of excursions from Washington, D.C. that have coupled official and political events.

The president has been eager to travel outside the beltway to connect with average Americans, aides say, and build on positive momentum from a series of improving national economic indicators and official events meant to highlight his first-term accomplishments.

Obama delivered a rousing defense of the auto industry bailout in a speech to the United Auto Workers union Tuesday and celebrated the end of the war in Iraq - a 2008 campaign promise - with a special dinner at the White House last night.

New York is the most generous U.S. metro area to the Obama campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, contributing $6.8 million through Feb. 13. Obama has raised more than $118 million total for the 2012 cycle.