Watchwoman on the Wall

Obama Raises Money in New York



By Laura Meckler

Hours after delivering a White House speech that called on wealthy Americans to pay higher taxes, President Barack Obama dined with some of these very Americans in New York. He was expected to raise more than $2 million for his reelection campaign.

He didn’t mention his plan to tax the rich, at least not in front of reporters. But he did allude to the controversy around his plan.

“You’re already hearing the moans and groans from the other side about how we are engaging in class warfare and we’re being too populist and this and that and the other — all the usual scripts.”

He added: “The fact you are present here tonight is something that is hugely encouraging to me.”

The fund-raiser was held at the Upper East Side home of Jane Hartley, CEO of the Observatory Group LLC, an economic and political advisory firm, and Ralph Schlosstein, president and CEO of the investment banking firm Evercore Partners Inc.

Earlier in the day, Mr. Obama proposed a $3.6 trillion deficit reduction package, much of which would come from higher taxes on families earning over $250,000.

Among the guests: Peter Orszag, Mr. Obama’s first budget director, now at Citigroup.

Other co-hosts include Roger Altman, founder and chairman of Evercore, and deputy Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton; Tom Bernstein, president of Chelsea Piers, and his wife, Andi; and Michael Kempner, a New Jersey-based public relations and lobbying executive.

Tickets to Monday’s dinner were $35,800 per person, with $5,000 going to the Obama campaign and the rest going to the Democratic National Committee. That’s the maximum contribution allowed by law.

Mr. Obama is in New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. On Tuesday night, the president and First Lady Michelle Obama are to host a gala at Gotham Hall that includes a performance by singer Alicia Keys. Tickets for that event started at $2,500 and go up to $15,000 for a dinner and photos with the Obamas.

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