On the same night that eight of the Republicans vying for their party’s presidential nomination are debating in Iowa, Obama is addressing donors, first at an event at the Ritz- Carlton being hosted by Gary Hirshberg, chief executive officer of Paris-based Danone S.A.’s Stoneyfield Farm Inc., and then at a dinner being put on by Harvey Weinstein, the co-founder of Miramax Film Corp., and Anna Wintour, editor of Vogue.
Tickets for both were $35,800 per person, with $5,000 going to Obama’s re-election campaign and $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee, according to a Democratic official who wasn’t authorized to speak on the record. Both are the maximums that donors can give. The official said 15 people were scheduled to attend the reception at the Ritz-Carlton and 50 people were to attend dinner at a private residence.
The fact that Obama is seeking $5,000 donations -- $2,500 for the primary and $2,500 for the general election -- is an indication that he once again will forego federal funding for the campaign. That will allow him to take in as much private money as he can raise and spend without limits.
“Americans understand that our political system functions the way it does and that candidates have to raise money,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
Obama arrived in New York after visiting a Johnson Controls Inc. advanced automotive battery plant in Holland, Michigan.
The president raised $46 million from April, when he announced his re-election bid -- to June, including $12.8 million from joint fundraisers with the DNC, like the two tonight. He took in $58.6 million through June 30, 2007, though he had started raising money months earlier.
On the Republican side, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney raised $18.3 million. All of the other Republican contenders reported raising less than $5 million apiece.
Since announcing his intention to seek a second four-year term, Obama has attended at least 35 fundraisers, including the two today.