Obama's celebrity friends help raise cash - at a cost

By Drum Digital
13 June 2012

US President Barack Obama is arguably the most recognized person in the world. But when it comes to his re-election campaign he needs plenty of help from some other famous people.

On Thursday he will be at it again, attending a glamourous New York fundraising dinner hosted by legendary Vogue editor Anna Wintour and Sex and the City actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

Parker appeared for an Obama ad that premiered during the MTV Movie Awards last week, aimed at millions of younger voters who could be the president's key weapon to win a second term.

Calling Obama "the guy who ended the war in Iraq ... who says you should be able to marry anyone you want ... and who created 4 million jobs," she urged viewers to enter a lottery for the chance to join her at the celebrity Obamafest.

Republicans seized on the Obama campaign video posted by Wintour to press home an image of the president as an out-of-touch elitist.

Wintour is the inspiration for the frightfully snobbish Meryl Streep character in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. The Republican video showed her speaking about the fancy fundraiser in the clipped accent of the American upper-classes, juxtaposing the clip with a ticker of grim employment statistics.

The tag line: "Obama's focused on keeping his job. But what about yours?"

The president, who like many Democratic Party leaders enjoys widespread support in Hollywood, is using the celebrity community as a major source of support.

Last month he raised over 15 million dollars in one fell swoop when he attended a 40,000-dollar-per-plate dinner hosted by actor George Clooney.

He mingled with numerous other celebs at Los Angeles fundraisers in early June organized by gay rights supporters, where he chatted with stars like Ellen DeGeneres, Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Cher.

His Republican opponents are quick to cast his celebrity support as a signal of his elitism. For outspoken right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh the issue was like a red meat to a lion.

"It's an indication once again how out of touch they really are, how distanced they have become from the people who make this country work," he said.

"It's an indication of what they think the strong drawing power of the presidency is. He's becoming Barack Kardashian. I'll tell you that's what he's becoming. He is becoming the male Kim Kardashian with this stuff."

Another ad, from the political action committee backed by Republican political guru Karl Rove, showed pictures of Obama on talk shows and asked, "After four years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?"

Nevertheless, Obama is unlikely to stop any time soon as he enters the campaign in a time of economic uncertainty.

Despite attending dozens of fundraisers around the country in May and raising 60 million dollars, Obama still lagged behind the 76 million dollars of Republican rival Mitt Romney, six months ahead of what is expected to be the first billion-dollar election.

The White House does not seem too fazed by the Republican attacks against Obama's celebrity ties.

When asked to comment on the criticism, White House spokesman Jay Carney referred to a controversial TV personality whose close ties to Mitt Romney have also been questioned.

"I have two words for you," Carney said. "Donald Trump."

Find Love!