Remember the first time you had your picture taken sitting on a pony? Or in Santa’s lap? Or that first prom photo? That’s exactly what it was like getting my picture taken with Senator Barack Obama at last night’s fund raiser in St. Louis. Assuming of course that you waited in line for two hours with 250 other kids and paid two grand for that pony picture.
This was my maiden voyage in the world of political fund raisers and I had no idea what to expect. My friends Henry and Lorna were there too, all of us first-timers. In fact, a lot of the people I met and spoke to were first-time contributers. I thought that was interesting, given that it cost $2,300 for the privilege of having your photo taken with the man that that might be the next president of the U. S. But these were true believers and everyone seemed happy to pony up. (no pun intended)
It’s just a guess, mind you, but I figure they took in more than half a million from the VIP’ers and –at $500 per– another $200,000 from those that heard Senator Obama speak but didn’t get to shake his hand. Closing in on 3/4 of a million dollars. Not big by GOP standards but not too shabby for a couple of hours.
So, what do you say to the man you hope will be your next president when you have about 10 seconds with him? I had narrowed my remarks down to three possibilities:
“O. Kay Henderson says hey”
Kay is the news director of Radio Iowa and interviewed Senator Obama numerous times during the early days of the campaign for the Iowa Caucuses. I imagined the senator responding with something like, “You know Kay Henderson? No shit?! Tell the girl hey back.”
“I’ve been waiting all my life for a president with a good jump shot.”
I scratched that one quickly given the racially charged atmosphere of this campaign.
“In the sixties we thought we’d change the world. You’ve made us believe again that we can.”
“You did, you did change the world” was the senator’s response. At least that’s what I heard. I confess I was pretty star-struck. Which surprised me a little. The aides hustled us through the line quickly and in a couple of days we can go to a website and download that pricey photograph. We’ll share it here, of course.
I guess I’m really “all in” now, as far as campaign contributions. And I’m glad I had last night’s experience. There was a very exciting vibe in the room throughout and I kept trying to imagine a John McCain event sparking the same tent revival feel that pervaded the evening. I think they’re gonna need a lot of swift boats.
PS: Henry (retired MD) gave Senator Obama a tip on how to stop smoking.
Not sure what Lorna said. Lorna reports she said, “I hope we’re not sucking your energy.” A nice thought but kind of risky in such a noisy room.
PPS: I didn’t get any good photos because I didn’t want to move around or risk a cavity search by the Secret Service guys. Here’s the VIP line before it got long and rowdy. If you look closely you can see the “x” taped on the floor so the Senator would know where to stand.
UPDATE: Leading Democratic fundraisers predict that Sen. Barack Obama could raise $100 million in June and could attract 2.5 million to 3 million new donors to his campaign.