HomeAbout The ShowShow NewsListen NowListen NowContact

March 12th, 2012
Inside the Obama Fundraiser

After getting freeways shut down in Houston during the thick of rush-hour and making his required public face-time at Minute Maid Park, the president made his way to the River Oaks home of Tony Chase and Dina Alsowayel, where 68 guests paid considerably more to dine with him.

The cost to attend, according to one top Obama fundraiser: $35,800 for the first person, an additional $15,000 for the second.

The $35,800 is the maximum that an individual can give in one year combined to the Obama campaign and the DNC fund for the Obama campaign.  The Obama Victory Fund is a joint account of the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee, which funnels the first $5,000 of an individual’s contribution to the president and the remainder, up to $30,800, to the DNC.  Some individuals attending the dinner wrote checks for that amount; others raised that amount for the campaign.

The dinner was a sellout.

 Among those attending the dinner:

Ann and Mathew Wolf,

Gracie and Bob Cavnar,

John and Becca Cason Thrash,

Michael Gamson,

former Houston Mayor Bill White,

Curry Glassell,

Jim Crane,

former Ambassador to the Bahamas Arthur Schechter,

Anne and Charles Duncan,

Clare Casademont,

University of Houston chancellor Renu Khator and Suresh Khator.

 Also spotted in the intimate dinner crowd: Jim Derrick and Carrin Patman, Arvia and Jason Few, Jim and Beverly Postl, Marty and Parvin McVey, Rodney Ellis, Garnett and Angelique Coleman, Roland and Karen Garcia, LaRence Snowden, and prominent Austin Obama fundraiser Kirk Rudy.

 Many of the guests had been at the Chase home since 5:30 p.m. for security reasons. They dined at six tables of 10 to 12 on crabmeat and avocado salad, oso bucco, green beans and fingerling potatoes, prepared by Jackson and Co. A two-tiered dessert tray of lemon tarts and chocolate brownies was at each table.

After the president arrived at the home, each table of guests was escorted to another room to have their photograph taken individually or as a couple with him.

Later,  he spoke to the select audience for more than 30 minutes and took nine questions on a variety of topics, ranging from nutrition and the fight against obesity to finance, foreign policy, energy and the controversial Keystone pipeline debate. One guest recalled that Obama said the process for selecting the route of the oil pipeline was not political and that it needed more time to be throughougly vetted as everyone would expect.

"But frankly I was so dazzled, I didn't pay that much attention to the substance of what he said," the guest admitted. "As you can imagine, it was a receptive audience. People love the guy. He is just so down-to-earth and very natural."

By 10:30 p.m. Obama had headed back to Ellington Field and was on his way to the nation's capital with his mission accomplished. The Houston visit was profitable, with more than $4 million raised from the two events.



President Barack Obama raked in more campaign cash at a convivial fundraiser Friday at the Houston home of fellow Harvard Law alumnus Tony Chase.


Chase, now a professor at the University of Houston and chief executive of ChaseSource, a recruiting and staffing firm, introduced the president.


"All of you are so gracious to give so much money to this president," Chase said to guests, who each paid $35,800 for the affair (or $15,000 for plus-ones).

"Money? I thought this was the Goldberg bar mitzvah," quipped a guest named Arthur, according to a pool report.

It’s unclear in the report if the president reacted to the joke. Chase, who resigned as deputy chairman and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas in 2008 to raise money for Obama, said, "We love this president."

He received a “hear, hear” from the crowd.

Obama spoke about clean energy and reviewed "three of the most difficult years" that just passed, the pool reported. He praised the resiliency and "core decency" of the American people for the recovery that he said is now underway.

He told the audience - "quiet and rapt," according to the pool report - that "our ability to bounce back and thrive in the future will depend on decisions we have to make right now." 

Hitting some of his stump speech themes of investing in education, clean energy and mandating "shared responsiblity" across tax brackets, the president lashed out at his opponents, although not by name. "We have a party that doesn’t think these kinds of investments are important," he said.

"On each of these issues there is a stark choice," Obama said. "Here’s the good news: I am absolutely sure the direction we are taking is supported by the American people." 

The true measure will come in November, but if it works out in his favor, Obama said he has "about five and a half more years" to finish what he set out to achieve.




Submit a comment

Website & Contents © Walton & Johnson | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us

Powered by BubbleUp, Ltd.

W&J on Twitter.comW&J on Facebook.com