UPDATE: The post about the dinner is here.
The two lucky female winners of the "Obama, Clooney & You" sweepstakes have backgrounds which perfectly fit with some of President Obama's key initiatives: The military, education, energy, and health care. They were chosen to meet the President this evening from a pool of fifty winners, and will rub elbows with 150 guests who paid $40,000 each to dine at George Clooney's Studio City mansion, which sits at the top of a secluded canyon that is currently laden with security. Celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is catering. Winner #1 is Beth Topinka, a military mother from Manalapan, N.J., who grew up in the swing state of Ohio and now teaches Middle School science. (Topinka, above)
Her son served in the U.S. Navy and attended Penn State on the new G.I. Bill, according to the Obama campaign. Topinka "supports the President’s work on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) initiatives, as well as his support for Pell Grants and student loan reform," the Campaign said.
She is bringing her husband Jerry Topinka as her guest, who according to the Campaign comes from Panama and is "a jazz guitarist who has played all over the world." He performs and teaches in New York and New Jersey. Jerry's father served as a pilot in WWII. His website is here.
Jerry "comes from a Republican family, but voted for Obama in 2008," the Campaign noted.
Winner #2 is Karen Blutcher, 45, who lives in the crucial election state of Florida. She is mother to a child with Down syndrome, and her husband and dinner guest, Patrick Blutcher, retired from the Coast Guard. She works as a communications coordinator for a local utility company in St. Augustine.
Karen "feels passionately about the President’s work to reform health care and applauds the First Lady’s focus on childhood obesity," the Campaign said. "For ten years, she’s worked for the public utility company, and before that she worked at a youth non-profit. She appreciates the President efforts to help those who are working hard to support their families and is proud that her career has provided her the opportunity to help others."
Patrick "was a basketball player in high school, who earned a scholarship to play in college, but opted to enlist in the military instead. He made a career out of avionics – electronic systems used on aircraft – both in the military, and then after he retired as a member of the National Guard," the Campaign said.
The prize packages for the lucky winners included coach-class airfare and a one-night hotel stay in Los Angeles. They will be taxed at the assigned retail value of the dinner, which is $1,600.
*Click here for links to all Clooney posts.
*Photo from Topinka's Twitter profile, @Btopink