HIGHLAND PARK, ILL.—White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) headlines the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem Thursday for a fund-raiser four blocks west of President Clinton’s foundation offices in a community with one of the nation’s largest African American populations.
Conceding no ground to chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Obama has a series of New York fund-raising events on Thursday, with the most political drama playing out potentially at the 1,500-seat Apollo, “Where the stars are born and legends are made.” This will be Obama’s first Harlem visit in his presidential run.
UPDATE 7 p.m. Chicago time Copy of Apollo invite at the end of this post.
Obama has been wooing New York’s Democratic elite before and since declaring for president last February. New York City—especially Manhattan—is one of the biggest sources of Democratic cash in the nation. The Obama campaign has a fund-raising office on the fifth floor at 500 Park Ave. Michelle Obama hosted a womens event in Harlem last June.
The campaign is calling the low-dollar $50-per-person funder at the theater where Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday once performed “A Night at the Apollo.”
The divisions on the Apollo board may mirror divisions in the wealthy African-American community over Obama and Clinton.
One of the members of the Apollo Theater Foundation board, Nadja Fidelia, a managing director of Lehman Brothers, is an Obama bundler, raising between $50,000 and $100,000 for Obama. Other board members are in the Clinton camp, including entertainer Quincy Jones and former New York comptroller H. Carl McCall.
Harlem is also the home of the William J. Clinton Foundation, the base of operations for the former president who has been on the stump for his wife.
Harlem also plays an important role in Hillary Clinton’s political biography. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), the congressman whose district includes Harlem, was one of the first to push in public for Clinton, while first lady, to consider running for the Senate from New York.
Earlier this month, on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” host Tim Russert asked Obama about an interview where Rangel said "I don't think on-the-job training is going to be a great asset for the next president of the United States." Question: "That's what we would have to have with Obama?" Rangel: "Of course."
Obama replied, “Well, look, the only real training for the presidency is the presidency.”
Iowa and New Hampshire host the first two Democrat presidential contests on Jan. 3 and Jan. 8 and the African-American vote is very small in these states. In contrast, in the South Carolina primary, at the end of January, African-American Democrats could make-up the majority of primary voters.
The Obama campaign will often acknowledge low dollar fund-raisers, such as the Apollo event; it is secretive about high end fund-raising. On Thursday morning, Obama will collect checks ranging from $1,000 to $2,300 from people attending a 9 a.m. fund-raising breakfast at the Upper West Side home of Susan Waterfall of the investment firm Mougens Waterfall Vintiaois & Co. Obama has other fund-raisers throughout the day.
What's not known is whether Obama will use the Apollo stage to show off his own set of pipes. He's not done much singing in public but he has a voice; he sang at the 2006 Gridiron dinner.
this is a cut and paste of the invite for the Apollo event....
HARLEM 4 OBAMA GENERATION OBAMA
State Senator Eric Adams
Della Britton Baeza &
State Assemblyman Michael Benjamin
Judy Byrd Blaylock &
State Assemblyman Karim Camara
John W. Carr
Aubria Corbitt & Keith Walton
Peggy Cooper Davis &
Eugene J. Duffy
Councilwoman Helen Diane Foster
State Assemblyman Hakeem Jeffries
Susan & Derek Johnson
Joyce S. Johnson
Tracey Kemble & Brian Mathis
Tonya Lewis Lee
Shola Lynch &Vincent Morgan
Cassandra & Lloyd Metz
State Senator Kevin Parker
State Senator Bill Perkins &
Marilyn & David W. Rivkin
State Senator John Sampson
Councilman James Sanders
Councilman Al Vann
Naima Walker Fierce
Nadja Webb Cogsville
Cordially invite you to join them for
A Night at the
Senator Barack Obama
Benefiting Obama for America
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Doors open at 7:30pm
At the Apollo Theatre
253 W. 125th Street, New York, NY
Tickets: $50 per person
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Obama at the Apollo ~ 11.29.07
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