Chicago Sun-Times
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Sweet column: Michelle Obama top VIP London package: Raise $23,000 for Barack. Swats down Clinton "inevitable" talk.


WASHINGTON -- Michelle Obama used an interview with a British paper to try to put the brakes on a potentially damaging narrative developing in the U.S. national political press over the last few days -- the "inevitability" that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) will be the Democratic presidential nominee.

In an interview with the Sunday Times given to advance her London visit to headline a Monday fund-raiser for her husband, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Michelle Obama said: "The 'inevitable' candidate has not raised the most money and doesn't have the biggest base of donors. . . . So where's the 'inevitability'?"

Asked if she thought Clinton was a polarizing figure, she replied: "That is definitely one of the challenges she faces. You can see it in the surveys."

Michelle Obama is the Obama campaign's most important surrogate, and her comments about Clinton come as the candidate himself is hitting Clinton more aggressively. In an interview on National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" aired Saturday, he was the most blunt yet in drawing the difference between himself and the front-runner.

"I opposed this war from the start, and Sen. Clinton did not," Barack Obama said.

Michelle Obama's quick London visit has been in the works for months and is designed to tap in to the wealthy community of U.S. expatriates living in Europe.

Only U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted permanent residents can contribute to U.S. federal campaigns. The Obama campaign is asking for passport numbers, Social Security numbers or permanent resident ID numbers of all donors. They are also asking contributors to reveal who referred them to the event -- information needed to identify their "bundlers" and useful in vetting donors.

Earlier this month, former President Bill Clinton traveled to England to raise money for his wife. Republican White House hopeful Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, flew to London a few weeks ago to tap into the ex-pat GOP network and to meet with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Michelle Obama will hold a "tiered" event at the Landmark Hotel, where the price of being labeled a "host" is $23,000. Federal law caps an individual donation at $2,300 for the primary and $2,300 for the general election. The hosts get VIP time at 6:30 p.m. with Obama. The Sunday Times reported the event as $100 per ticket -- but that's just for the 8 p.m. ballroom event for the masses; students can get in for $50.

A $2,300 donation buys entree to the "sponsors" and main reception; $1,000 is the cost for the 7 p.m. "main" reception.


Six months ago nobody ever heard the name Michelle Obama and today she poses as a political expert. She and Barack are two of the most ambitious folk to appear in quite a while. They may not like the fact that the Clinton's are widely respected and maybe if they stay in the game for twenty years they may also be respected.

is that all you write about! obama is nothing more than a left wing liberal- worse yet -from chicago! this country was founded on the idea of freedom -freedom from goverment!all you do is try to sell your evil socialist ideas ! yes evil!

I would have preferred Michelle had given the interview to the trust-owned Guardian rather than the Rupert Murdoch-owned Sunday Times. They both have Washington correspondents after all. Maybe The Guardian will interview her when she's in London. I hope so.

Add up the cost of the entourage travel expenses, Secret Service salaries and expenses, etc. and the total was much greater than the lousy $23,000 reportedly raised. You could raise that much on a Friday night at almost any bar in Lincoln Park. Did Axelrod make this call or did the wondrous Michelle take over?

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on October 14, 2007 10:07 AM.

Sweet blog extra: Obama sharpens attack on Clinton on NPR's "All Things Considered." was the previous entry in this blog.

Sweet's Oct. 15 Obamaville: Obama in Madison. Go Badgers. is the next entry in this blog.

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