UPDATE: President sends a second e-mail about dinner
And wait, there's more: First Lady's e-mailing about dinner too! Just $3!
President Obama sent an e-mail this morning inviting supporters to make a donation to be entered into the "Dinner with Barack II" sweepstakes. It coincided with a push on the @BarackObama Twitter account for the Campaign 2012 fundraiser. Until today, the sweepstakes was rolling along with little fanfare from Obama for America. The Sept. 30 deadline for entries is now two weeks off, however. (Above: The graphic created for the dinner, which features a photo of President Obama at a lunch with Campaign volunteers in Washington)
The President, who signed his email "Barack," seems to be promising that there are going to be many such opportunities for supporters to dine with him. The subject line for his e-mail is "A new tradition."
"I'm writing to invite you to dinner," Barack wrote. "If that sounds familiar, it's because we've done this before. I've asked the campaign to organize small, five-person dinners with supporters like you as a regular thing."
So far, there's only been one other Presidential dinner announced by Obama for America, the "Dinner with Barack and Joe," which includes Vice President Joe Biden.
"These dinners are important to me," Barack wrote. "Not just because they help me stay connected to supporters like you who are doing the hard work of building this campaign, but because they set us apart."
The President linked to a donation page, and asked for a minimum of $5 to be entered in the sweepstakes, though the Official Rules say that no donation is required.
"Maybe I'll get to thank you in person," Barack wrote, as he ended his e-mail.
The winners of the "Dinner with Barack and Joe" sweepstakes, as noted in this post and in this post, have still not been announced, which is a violation of the Official Rules for the contest, created by the Campaign itself. Both dinners with the President include airfare and and one night's stay at a hotel for winners. Campaign staff have given the "Dinner with Barack and Joe" package an "approximate retail value" of $1075, while Dinner II is pricier, at $1,150.
The full text of Barack's e-mail:
I'm writing to invite you to dinner.
If that sounds familiar, it's because we've done this before. I've asked the campaign to organize small, five-person dinners with supporters like you as a regular thing.
These dinners are important to me. Not just because they help me stay connected to supporters like you who are doing the hard work of building this campaign, but because they set us apart.
No matter what our opponents do over the next 14 months, we have chosen to put people at the heart of our campaign -- and we're focused on building it one grassroots donation at a time.
I'm asking you to make one today.
Please donate $5 or more today to be automatically entered for a chance to join me for dinner.
I read a few letters every day from the many that come to the White House. Those personal connections with the people who put me here drive me and remind me why I set out to do this job in the first place.
Our focus on everyday Americans and their stories has always made our organization more than just a political campaign.
From the very beginning, we've set out to practice a different kind of politics -- proving that we don't need checks from Washington lobbyists or unlimited special-interest money to win an election.
That's why I'm asking you to step up and donate today. When you do, you'll be automatically entered to win a place at dinner.
Maybe I'll get to thank you in person.