Presumptive Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), heavily reliant on major donors and celebrities despite his public emphasis on small contributors, upped the ante this week to enter his VIP donor world. A new high was set Monday for hosting or chairing an Obama event; chairs of his birthday fund-raiser in Boston had to raise $285,000; co-chairs needed to collect $142,500.
Meanwhile, a string of celebrities from the entertainment world are helping Obama raise campaign money in August and September: Bruce Hornsby; Luciana & Matt Damon and Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck, Star Jones; Kal Penn; Mira Nair; Ellen Pompeo; Justin Chambers and Scarlett Johansson. Leon Fleisher, Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman will perform at an Obama fund-raiser in Phoenix next month.
The higher price tags in the Boston event was reflected down the line: dinner and the "photoline" was $28,000 per couple or $15,000 a seat. Other tiered categories: Celebration Co-Chair/Sponsor/Friend/Ticket Price: $25,000, $4,600, $2,300, $1,000. The Boston Globe reported $5 million raised from the evening.
Bi-coastal price list: Dinner with Obama on Aug. 17 in San Francisco is $14,250 per couple. The tab for brunch with Caroline Kennedy in Sagaponack, N.Y. the same day is between $10,000 and $2,300.
On Tuesday night, former Vice President Gore was the scheduled headliner at the Nantucket home of Marge and Lou Susman, the Chicago Democratic fund-raiser who was the finance chair in 2004 for Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). The sliding price scale for the ran from $4,600 to $10,000 per couple at the high end. The top package included a VIP reception with Gore, general reception and dinner and "conversation."
Musician Bruce Hornsby joins Michelle Obama when he performs in Norforlk, Va. on Wednesday; VIP seating costs $10,000 with cheap seats a $100 donation.
Obama heads to Minneapolis Wednesday night for a high end event with a sliding scale between $28,500 and $1,000.
Catching up: At an Obama Victory Fund high end celebrity fund-raising on Saturday night in Miami Beach two power couples headlined events: Luciana & Matt Damon and Jennifer Garner & Ben Affleck offered themselves as dining companions for $10,000 donors. A pre-dinner reception sliding scale ran from $100 to $2,500.
The Obama family will soon be en route to Hawaii. On Aug. 12 Obama headlines a reception at the Kahala Resort in Honolulu with VIP tickets at $10,000 to $2,300.
On Aug. 17, Obama headlines another mega event in San Francisco where a co-chair for VIP dinner with Obama needs to raise $142,500; dinner with Obama is going for $14,250 per couple.