Warren Buffett Boosts Obama Campaign With Suburban Chicago Stop

Warren Buffett attended a Chicago- area fundraiser last night to benefit President Barack Obama’s re-election, the second time this year the billionaire investor has lent his appeal to help collect campaign cash for the man who has named a tax-increase proposal after him.

The event in Obama’s political base and north of his hometown follows a Sept. 30 gathering in New York City that Buffett also attended.

The gathering took place at a private home in Winnetka, Illinois. The home, on the Lake Michigan shoreline, is owned by Byron Trott, the managing partner and chief investment officer at BDT Capital Partners in Chicago.

Trott, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), has a longstanding business relationship with Buffett. Admission was $35,800 per person, the maximum allowed under federal fundraising rules.

Those in attendance included Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who was seen riding in the back of a sport utility vehicle onto the property, which was decorated for Halloween.

Chris Mather, an Emanuel spokeswoman, said the mayor was a guest at the event and was asked by the president to attend to anchor one of the dinner tables. Emanuel was Obama’s first White House chief of staff before leaving last year to run for mayor.

About 60 to 70 people attended the fish and beef dinner, according to a donor who was there and spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to provide details about the campaign event.

Kirk, Lucas Attend

Other guests included U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and filmmaker George Lucas, according to the donor.

Buffett, 81, talked about his long-term bullish outlook for the U.S. economy and his belief that it is gradually gaining strength, the donor said. He also joked about a proposed tax increase being named after him and reinforced his opinion that the U.S. tax system should be more equitable.

Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), is a longtime Obama supporter. He hosted an August 2007 fundraiser in Omaha, Nebraska, for Obama and has served as an informal economic adviser.

The president has cited Buffett to counter critics of his policies, particularly his push to raise taxes for the nation’s wealthiest individuals and families. Buffett supports higher taxes for wealthy Americans, including himself.

In September, as part of Obama’s recommendations to trim the nation’s long-term deficit by $3 trillion, the president proposed the Buffett rule, which would require taxpayers earning more than $1 million a year to pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle-class households.

Hosts of the fundraising event included Chicago billionaire businesswoman Penny Pritzker, who was Obama’s national finance committee chairman for the 2008 campaign, and John Rogers Jr., chairman of Chicago-based Ariel Investments LLC, according to a copy of the invitation obtained by Bloomberg News.

The Buffett gathering was held at roughly the same time as fundraising events that brought Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to Chicago.

To contact the reporter on this story: John McCormick in Winnetka, Illinois, at jmccormick16@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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