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Romney sticking with Trump more a problem than Obama's celebrity backers

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WASHINGTON -- It's been awfully hard for the Mitt Romney campaign to make President Barack Obama look like an elitist.

So the pros -- the Obama team -- did it for him in a video featuring Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, which the Republican National Committee ripped on Monday.

Wintour in the Obama video is the personification of elitism, what with her upper class British accent, manner and dress.

People who come across as wealthy snobs are usually never used in a political spots because they could turn off a lot of folks and are easy to spoof: good for satirists on the late night shows, counterproductive for a campaign.

Wintour is helping Obama raise money on several fronts. She hits Chicago June 12 for an Obama fund-raiser at Harpo Studios with models Iman and Chanel Iman, and fashion designer Rachel Roy.

The video was made to encourage small-dollar donors to enter a raffle to attend a fund-raiser Wintour is co-hosting with "Sex and the City" star Sarah Jessica Parker June 14 at Parker's Manhattan home. Obama and first lady Michelle -- or as Wintour calls her "Meeechelle" -- will be at the $40,000-a-person dinner.

"It will be a fantastic evening. We are saving the two best seats in the house for you," Wintour says in the video at BarackObama.com.

To crank up donations, Parker did an ad that ran Sunday night on the MTV Movie Awards. On Monday morning, the campaign e-mail sent out in the name of Mrs. Obama had a sweetener: "After dinner, you and your guest are invited to join us at a private concert with Mariah Carey."

Raffles have emerged as a very effective low-dollar fund-raising tool this fund-raising cycle when linked to a celebrity.

The raffle for the May fund-raising dinner at George Clooney's house with Obama reaped about $8 million, with two winners and their spouses seated with the $40,000 contributors.

The Obama campaign also raffled off spots at the Monday fund-raiser in Manhattan with Obama and former President Bill Clinton, where people paid from $15,000 to $35,800 to attend.

The Obama campaign posted the Wintour video on Friday -- when Obama was hit with lousy numbers in the May jobs report.

The Republican National Committee pounced Monday morning posting a video titled "Meanwhile," which appropriates the entire Wintour spot. It begins, "On Friday, the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent. The same day the Obama campaign released the following video."

As Wintour talks about the raffle, the RNC spot -- which notes it is using actual Obama campaign video -- highlights the unemployment rate for women, African Americans, Hispanics and youths: Obama's base vote.

Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, was asked during a conference call on Monday if the celebrity stuff portrays Obama as not understanding the "ordinary folks."

"It's a kind of humorous that they would take that tact," said Axelrod, noting that Donald Trump last month hosted a fund-raiser with Romney in Las Vegas. Trump used the occasion to revive his birther credentials. "And now they are promoting Dinner with the Donald."

That's right. The Romney team is really running a low-dollar raffle with birther Trump as the lure. The "Dine with the Donald and Mitt" raffle is open through midnight June 22.

Wintour is merely an easy target to ridicule. Trump is divisive, silly -- and wrong. Both sides are using celebs to raise money. But all celebs are not the same. And it's just puzzling how Romney can't see it.

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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 June 5, 2012 8:30 AM.

New Romney video aims at Hispanics, hits Obama record was the previous entry in this blog.

Bill Foster, facing Judy Biggert, pitches for female vote with Lily Ledbetter is the next entry in this blog.

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