Monday, June 11, 2007

"Four fund-raisers: 'A big day for Barack'"

Chicago Sun-Times:

Chicago events could net him $1.5 million--Striding onto stage to "Sweet Home Chicago," U.S. Sen. Barack Obama told a group of young adults their generation can help "transform a nation" by supporting him for president.

"We won't just win an election, we will transform a nation," Obama told a group of 1,500 people at Union Station late Friday night.
The GEN BO (Generation Barack Obama) fund-raiser was one of four held in Chicago Friday, expected to net Obama about $1.5 million in campaign contributions in one day.

Obama also had a private fund-raiser at Carnivale in River West, attended by many prominent politicos. The Carnivale event originally was to be held at the Park West in Lincoln Park, but was switched after complaints from organized labor.

Two other fund-raisers were held in the homes of Vicki and Bruce Heyman and Alicia and Tim Mullen.

"This is a big day for Barack," Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes said as he left the Carnivale fund-raiser. "This is home base for support."

$100 fund-raiser
Hynes said he plans to travel to Iowa this week to campaign for the Democratic candidate. On Saturday, Obama joined about 250 volunteers going door-to-door in Dubuque.

While Friday's events drew skilled politicians, they also attracted those who simply were considering giving Obama a hand.

"I have just been curious about him," said Audrey Williams, a 27-year-old advertising account executive from Lincoln Park who paid $100 to attend the Union Station fund-raiser. "I just wanted to learn more about him and his campaign. I might even get involved. I might knock on some doors. I'm not sure."

The fund-raiser, which featured celebrities like Jeremy Piven of HBO's "Entourage," was geared toward adults in their 20s and 30s like Williams. Piven was one of the speakers who introduced Obama, whose wife, Michelle, then brought him onstage.

Young and middle-aged
But not all attendees were of twenty-somethings.

Lynn Mangan, 52, an Orland Park housewife, paid $100 apiece for herself and three of her children.

"We just all like Barack Obama and want him to win," Mangan said.

Obama gave his campaign stump speech, stressing a wide range of issues from universal health care to ending the war in Iraq.

He also criticized President Bush, saying his presidential term "has been so bad that the entire world will breathe a sigh of relief" when it's over.

Obama pointed to the civil rights movement as an example that changes could occur, saying he had been criticized by the national media for his optimism in touting change.

Obama quipped that he had been labeled: "He is just a hope peddler."

"You are proof that people want some hope," he told those gathered.


It's stood at 11:48 for a few weeks, but we're inching the Obama Clock up to 11:49. He didn't win that New Hampshire debate, but he sure did better than last time. Then, a USA Today/Gallup poll found him tied with Clinton. It's out of whack with other polls. But hey, it can't hurt his fund-raising. And finally, that "quiet riot" speech about simmering despair among poor African Americans injected some sorely needed poetry into the contest.

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