With his campaign eager to keep pace with Republican rival Mitt Romney’s fundraising surge, Obama dipped into New York City for a pair of celebrity fundraisers, featuring some of his most ardent supporters from the fashion, film and music industries.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker kicked off the first event by giving the president a hug and kiss as she introduced him to 50 donors in her Manhattan home, telling the group they had gathered “hopefully, with enormous enthusiasm.”
Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, a co-host of the event, was also there, sitting beside actress Meryl Streep, who portrayed a fictionalized version of Wintour in “The Devil Wears Prada.” Designer Michael Kors and Bravo! television host Andy Cohen also were on hand.
Republicans have attacked Obama for relying too heavily on celebrities to bring money and excitement to his reelection effort. But the president embraced the big-name support Thursday, thanking Parker and pronouncing her and actor husband Matthew Broderick “great friends.” (Broderick, who is starring on Broadway, was absent because he “had a show,” the president told the audience.)
Obama also lavished praise on Wintour, saying she was “working hard in New York and Chicago,” to help his campaign.
Then Obama launched into a stump speech, repeating familiar themes that pleased the supportive crowd. When he boasted that his administration had helped bail out the auto industry, punctuating the remark by saying that General Motors is “back on top,” Parker’s 9-year-old son began clapping.
“He wanted to fire up the crowd,” Obama responded.
“He knows an applause line,” Cohen said, roaring. “Right on cue!”
Each of the donors who attended the event at Parker’s home contributed $40,000 to the Obama campaign, which also raised cash through a raffle for a seat to those who had contributed as little as $3.
Aside from the celebrities, another notable guest was Sonia Tudor Jones, whose husband, Paul Tudor Jones, backed Obama in 2008, but is now backing Romney.
Afterward, Obama moved on to the Plaza Hotel, where he spoke to 250 supporters, including singers Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, who performed.
“Over the next five months, you won’t be seeing a lot of ads because frankly Manhattan isn’t a battleground state,” Obama told the crowd. Still, he noted, Republicans will try to blame him for the lackluster economy.
In all, Obama was expected to raise at least $4.5 million for his campaign from the events in New York Thursday night.