Saturday, March 10, 2007

Obama's Back Fund-Raising in New York, Not Quietly

Anyone who thinks Obama's not going to win the black vote wasn't at the fundraisers I went to last night -- there was a HUGE turnout among blacks, mostly young professionals.  I even ran into a friend who at one time organized a big fundraiser for Hillary.  I asked her, "Are you here just to check out Obama, but are still in Hillary's camp, or have you switched sides?"  She smiled and said she'd switched -- "and it wasn't a hard decision!"
It was a MADHOUSE at both fundraisers last night!  Even the $1,000-per-person room was packed to the gills (I'd guess 700+ people were there), and I couldn't believe the crowd in the enormous ballroom upstairs -- you could barely move.  And there was so much excitement and energy in the air!
I went to a Hillary fundraiser last year and the difference couldn't have been more stark.  It was stilted and formal, the audience was a bunch of businessmen, checking their Blackberries, who were probably there because their arms had been twisted or their companies did business with the government, and Hillary gave a boring policy speech.
In contrast, last night, after his wife introduced him (I'd heard great things about her -- and she was better than advertised!) and he came out, everyone was snapping pictures and during his remarks, he was frequently interrupted by applause.  People were going NUTS!
I also heard more stories about how Obama is drawing huge support from life-long Republicans; for example, at one meeting yesterday afternoon with big-time donors from the investment world, of the two dozen people there, I heard half were Republicans.
Everything I saw underscored for me that Democrats AND Republicans are SICK of the status quo in their parties -- the vicious attacks and divisive strategies, the corruption and pandering to special interests, etc. -- and are desperately yearning for someone who can move beyond that and bring our nation together.  A whole lotta people -- myself included -- think Obama's that person.
Sorenson has it right:

Theodore C. Sorenson, one of President John F. Kennedy’s closest advisers, introduced Mr. Obama at one fund-raiser last night. He endorsed Mr. Obama’s candidacy, saying the senator was the only candidate he believed could restore the nation’s credibility around the world.

“It reminds me of the way the young, previously unknown J.F.K. took off,” Mr. Sorensen said in an interview, adding: “Obama, like J.F.K., is such a natural. He’s very comfortable with who he is.”

“I’m a New Yorker,” Mr. Sorenson said, “but I want to support the best candidate. I don’t dislike Senator Clinton, but I’m for Obama.”

March 10, 2007

Obama’s Back Fund-Raising in New York, Not Quietly

Since opening his presidential fund-raising committee in January, Senator Barack Obama has made a series of stealthy trips to New York, quietly prospecting for contributions and supporters in the city of one of his chief rivals for the Democratic nomination.

But when Mr. Obama arrived yesterday, no effort was made to keep his visit under wraps. His campaign trumpeted the back-to-back events that raised nearly $1 million.

And just so no one — particularly, perhaps, the campaign of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton — would overlook that he was in town, organizers passed out blue and red Obama signs to admirers lining the street outside a Midtown hotel.

“We are here because the country is calling us,” Mr. Obama told a cheering crowd inside. “We are here because we are at a crossroads.” He added, “Every 20 or 30 years, every generation, a moment comes when we have to look up and ask ourselves, ‘Are we prepared to meet the challenges that this generation faces?’ ”


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