President asks glam New York crowd to help "make some more history"...
President Obama on Tuesday night got a big boost from superstar Beyoncé and her rap mogul husband Jay-Z, raising at least $4 million during a fundraiser at the lavish 40/40 Club in downtown New York City. About 100 silk-pocketed donors paid $40,000 each to snack on hamburger sliders and 350 Armand de Brignac Gold champagne--club owner Jay-Z's favorite--as they listened to the President make his case for four more years. (Above: The President and his hosts)
Against a backdrop of the glamorous sports lounge's smokey mirror, trophies, and framed team jerseys on the padded walls, the President spoke of humble beginnings and his vision for the future, warning that "the stakes could not be higher" in this election. But he opened his remarks on a light note, comparing himself to the rap star as he praised his wife.
“Jay-Z now knows, you know, what my life is like,” the President said. “We both have daughters. And our wives are more popular than we are.”
He turned to his host and added: "So-- you know. So we’ve got a little bond there. It’s hard, but it’s OK.”
Jay-Z attended the President's 50th birthday bash at the White House, while Beyoncé sang at his inauguration and at a State Dinner, and has supported not only the re-election effort but also First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! campaign. The President thanked the pop star for being a role model for his daughters Malia, 14, and Sasha, 11.
"Beyoncé couldn’t be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise--and has so much talent," he said to applause.
"Malia and Sasha just love both of them."
Beyoncé, clad in a form-fitting red cocktail dress and sky-high heels, introduced the President before his remarks, saying “I can’t tell you how proud we are to host tonight’s event with President Obama."
"We believe in his vision," Beyoncé said.
The President, clad in a dark suit, thanked his hosts as he took the stage: "To Jay and Bey, thank you so much for your friendship."
The fashionable guests sat on overstuffed sofas and listened raptly as the President spoke; the headlines of the day were dominated by videotaped remarks Mitt Romney had made at a fundraiser, but the President avoided a direct mention of his opponent, rather calling for action seven weeks before election day. He discussed Romney in depth during an interview taped earlier in the evening with David Letterman.
“I don’t want people to be complacent, but I also don’t want people to be discouraged,” the President told the club crowd.
“We’re on the brink of an election, but more importantly, we’re on the brink of moving America in a direction where we’re going to be more just, more fair,” he said.
Small tables of wine, champagne and finger food, including hamburger sliders, were in front of the guests, who were also dazzled with a floor-to-ceiling tower made of the 350 Armand de Brignac Gold bottles, which sell for $300 each. The club has tiered seating, and the President was surrounded on three sides as he made his pitch. Ericka Dungee, a mother and kindergarten teacher from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, the winner of the online 'NYC With Barack, Jay-Z and Beyoncé fundraising contest, was nestled somewhere in the glam lounge with her husband, Bill, a school district employee.
"The good thing about so many of us here--and I know, I speak for Jay and Bey--is we remember what it’s like not having anything, and we know people who were just as talented as us that didn’t get the same break, the same chance," President Obama said.
Giving all Americans a break and fulfilling his vision of the American dream "will not come easy," President Obama said. "And that we're going to have to fight for this thing every step of the way."
"You're a part of us trying to make some more history," he said.
The President's effort to make history has included other celebrity fundraisers, with George Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour, Michael Jordan, and former President Bill Clinton. The Clooney bash in May had the largest haul of the season, with a reported $15 million just from an online contest.
The Obama campaign excluded press photographers from the event, and a print reporter was allowed in briefly to hear the President's remarks, then escorted out before he mingled with guests.
Earlier in the evening, during a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the President bashed Romney before an audience of 200, who'd paid a minimum of $12,500 per family to attend. The President's total haul for the evening exceeded $6 million.
The President arrived at the 40/40 Club in a driving rain, and he was back at the White House at 11:22 PM. He hits the campaign trail again on Thursday, with another visit to the battleground state of Florida. Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder will be the next music industry celeb to join the President, when he croons at a $20,000/ticket fundraiser.
*Photo from IamBeyonce.com