Washington may be the ultimate political town, but we miss out on most of the campaign rallies and such. Instead, we get motorcades and traffic jams when candidates race around town raising big bucks. Where they’ve been lately:
The Obama campaign usually sends Joe Biden out of town to raise money, but Monday night, he headlined at the Georgetown home of Sen. John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry. More than 80 guests paid $10,000 or more to dine on New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatoes. (Republicans just “don’t have a sense of the average folks out there,” Biden told the crowd. “They don’t know what it means to be middle class.”)
Other private hosts: Veterinarian Nan Schaffer and lawyer Karen Dixon, who hosted President Obama at a $35,800-per-person LGBT fundraiser for 40 people at their Kalorama home Feb. 9; and hotel magnate Stewart Bainum, who welcomed POTUS to a $2.5 million cocktail fundraiser in Chevy Chase Jan. 31.
Republicans headed to Virginia: Rick Santorum attended a $1,000-a-person event in Oakton Jan. 25 hosted by former aide Bill Wichterman; Mitt Romney picked up $322,000 at the McLean home of tech honcho Bobbie Kilberg last October.
Most of the campaign gridlock is caused by the president, who favors hotels for his local fundraising. For the most part, he stays close to the White House: The Jefferson, with several recent events, is a favorite, but he’s also met with donors at the nearby St. Regis, Capital Hilton, Hyatt Regency, and Mandarin Oriental hotels. Romney dropped by the JW Marriott on Feb. 9 for a $10,000-a-ticket reception; Newt Gingrich’s Dec. 7 party at the Willard was surrounded by Occupy D.C. protesters.
Obama’s “Dinner with Barack” contest was designed to reward small-dollar donors with photo-op meals staged at some keeping-it-real restaurants. Last Thursday, the president and first lady dined with three winners and guests at Boundary Road on H Street N.E. Previous venues: Dupont Circle’s Scion on Jan. 6, Arlington’s Liberty Tavern on Oct. 27.
Read earlier: Obama hits D.C. social circuit. . . to fundraise, 11/8/11
Read related: GOP contest shaping up to be cheapest race in years, 3/12/11