Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?
Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, arrives for last night's State Dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron at the White House.
March 15th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Obama invited more than three dozen of his top campaign fundraisers to last night's State Dinner in honor of the British Prime Minister.

Some of the guests included:

Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, Vogue editor-in chief Anna Wintour along with executives from the private equity company Blackstone, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Microsoft.

Just to name a few.

In total – 47 of the more than 360 expected attendees are campaign bundlers or volunteer fundraisers for Mr. Obama's reelection efforts.

According to ABC News, the group on hand last night raised nearly $11 million of the $250 million President Obama and the Democrats have raised so far for 2012.

Everybody understands election campaigns require money - but is this the proper use of the White House?

These folks are known as "bundlers" and are a big deal in campaign finance. Federal campaign rules limit individual contributions to $2,500. That's where bundlers kick in and raise the big bucks from their associates.

President Obama also invited several campaign donors to a State Dinner for the president of South Korea back in October. Sort of like using the Lincoln bedroom to repay favors, isn't it?

It's not unusual for presidents to reward big supporters by inviting them to dinners with dignitaries. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush did it.

But Mr. Obama ran on "the most sweeping ethics reform in history" back in 2008; and he likes to criticize the role money plays in politics.

Except when it's time to raise money for his reelection.

The more things change in Washington, the more they stay the same.

Here’s my question to you: Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 4pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Fundraising • White House
soundoff (134 Responses)
  1. Wm in PA

    If memory serves w and his dad GHW entertained their Saudi benefactors at the White House on any and all occasions. Must be OK.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  2. John from Alabama

    Jack: The answer is a yes and no. If the foreign dignitary might have a problem the campaign contributor can do to help. No, if for the sake of just meeting a foreign dignitary.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
  3. MNResident

    Hey, they paid good money for a seat at that table so they could dine on fancy wine and imported meat while the rest of us eat macaroni and cheese with a little water from the tap. Just remember, those people at that dinner "feel our pain".......

    March 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago

    Probably not. Then again, the need for Billions of Dollars to run a campaign thanks to the Supreme Court making bribery legal while laughing at its consequences from their 1% perch probably shouldn't have happened either. The whole system is so corrupted by our economic overloards I don't fault anybody anymore. Now politics is decided by who has the most dirty money, the best IT team, and the most convincing propoganda machine. Whatever...

    March 15, 2012 at 1:56 pm |

    tampa, fl since we are so broke, their should be a fee for anyone eating at the white house. byob too. it's our house, the POTUS is only a temporary visitor and should not be allowed to rent it out and keep the money.

    March 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  6. Janne from NC

    Not unless Obama is also going to invite a few of us "common folk" as tokens. Remember he swears he feels our pain and understands our lives. Heck, I have movie stars and billionaires to dinner everyday. Don't you Jack?

    March 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  7. Duane North Dakota

    It’s all about access, influence and power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    The answer is NO!

    March 15, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  8. Ted

    The president met them at the door and said " show me the money " ..Post script..Jack if he ever invites you,PLEASE REFUSE,and show him you cannot be bought..

    March 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  9. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Jack I don't have a problem with it all presidents do it. What I have a problem with is lobbyist inviting Congress to expensive golf courses and dinners and telling them how to vote.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  10. Doug Ericson

    Does the big fundraiser get to sit down with Netanyahu, and other country's Presidents? Good question. There are situations where a conflict of interest could arise. There are situations where it would appear to be too chummy. I am not drawing a clear picture of right or wrong here, so I will read your comment after I write this and see what I blanked out on. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  11. JD in NH

    I think who is invited to state dinners is the least of our worries. Donors have always been invited and they will probably always be invited. This is not worthy of an "Obama-is-a-horrible-person" brouhaha. Republican presidents do it, too.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm |
  12. Pete in Georgia

    The level of corrupt fund raising, raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a job that pays the egomaniac politician around 400K per year, has been elevated to the point where honest decent working class citizens can no longer comprehend or even believe how dirty it all is.
    Beyond shameful.
    Beyond disgusting.
    And yet the sorry criminals involved..................our so called leaders..................know they can get away with ANYTHING with nothing but a nation of sheep totally preoccupied with leisure and entertainment in their empty lives.
    It's beyond pathetic.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  13. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think we should adopt Romney care completely. It seems to be working well in Massachusetts. We also could do what the Republicans want, don't have any health care plan. Either way the 1% will be just fine and that is all that seems to matter these days.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  14. jk in MN

    Why is this question being asked now when we have a democratic President in office – not to mention the first African American President? Let's not kid ourselves – I'm sure this has been an on-going practice that is magnified with the Citizen's United ruling. Washington is beholdin' to their fundraisers, they are going to invite them to high profile events. Remeber, Citizen's United calls it free speech.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  15. barbara in nc

    No less so than when Bush/Cheney did the same thing.

    Get off the lop-sided hate-mongering.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  16. Ed from California

    No, they should not! What it shows to leaders of other foreign countries, and to our citizens that pay attention, is that our country/government is up for sale(auction is the proper term) to the highest bidder. It's no wonder all of our work is gone, and that we borrow trillions from a communist country just so the top 1% of our "patriots" can get a tax cut. How sweet it is!!

    March 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  17. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    Hell yes! The cycle of influence, corruption, greed, and more corruption, would not be complete without it. Lord knows we need more of the same crap that people call "politics" right now. I know, it's just the way they do things in Washington, so that is supposed to make it OK.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  18. Jenna Roseville CA

    Should campaign fund-raisers be invited to White House state dinners for foreign dignitaries?

    Why not? State dinners aren't for the little people Jack. They are for wheeling and dealing.

    Roseville CA

    March 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  19. David from Cape Cod

    UNQUESTIONABLY NO!!!!! We need to stop selling our government to the "highest bidder".

    March 15, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  20. Ed from MD

    Sure but now that corporations are people would they have seats big enough for GM or Goldman sachs?

    March 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  21. Bill of New Mexico

    There are 1,001 things that I want changed with our government.

    Seating foreign dignitaries at a fancy banquet–is not one of them.

    If the 3-stooges can help Groucho to be elected–

    Well, allow the 3-stooges to throw chocolate cream pies at the foreign dignitaries.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  22. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    All is fair in war and the way the politicians are behaving these days it really is war. So yes invite anyone who will help your campaign. This class warfare is an ongoing issue as all of the incumbents should be voted out and WE the people need to send them a message, do for us or your next.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  23. Lucille

    If they are charged per guest, who cares who they invite. I don't think the tax payers need to be feeding the rich and famous for free.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  24. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    The administration is cutting off it's nose to spite it's face with this kind of aloof and arrogant behavior. They are like people who spend thousands of dollars on a wedding that they can't afford, spending money they don't have and can't pay back only to have the marriage last a few months. Basketball games and state dinners should be cancelled until our bills are paid.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  25. Scott Stodden

    Absolutley, Why Not Jack? These Campaign Fund-Raising People May Also One Day Run For President!!!!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport, Illinois)

    March 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Jeff In Minnesota

    Why not Jack? Is this just sour grapes on your part because you've never been invited? Well guess what? Most Americans have never been invited, so suck it up and move on!

    March 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  27. Russ in PA

    No, but crony-capitalism is now the name of the game in Washington, isn't that so obvious? And it certainly isn't just a Democrat proclivity, it's the SOP for both parties. But, hey, maybe I'll get invited sometime, and then you can ask why the heck I'm attending...

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    March 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  28. diridi

    No, please do not make white house a restaurant....please.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  29. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Personally, I think they should have their own "campaign dinners"--but of course--then you would visibly see who is driving the political truck–and the price tags on the menu-–there is no price list!

    March 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  30. Cy Gardner

    Fundraisers want something for their help. Would you rather give them a seat next to the Ghanian ambassador's wife for dinner or their very own bridge to Nowhere? cy from arlington, va

    March 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  31. thom richer

    The wealthy donors should not be granted anymore White House privileges or "perks" than any American citizen whether they paid bribe money or not to any sitting official, party or candidate. The White House, president and Congress belong to ALL citizens of these United States. Of course we know this is not at ll the case and never will be but never the less it does not make it right. When, if ever, has any sitting president extended invitations to random citizens to attend any official or social event who was not a member of the elite of America for a non-political or media attention motive? No, the man and woman on the street is not welcome in their company unless they bring their wallet. Sad, very sad.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    March 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  32. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Why not? Money is the most important ingredient in electiions anymore. Since every penny counts why not sell seats at state dinners? They're sold at every other political event.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  33. bonnie from NJ

    I donated $25 last campaign, funny I didn't get an invite! I guess it was lost in the mail.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  34. Julie from Illinois

    Of course, if you buy it you should get to use it. That goes for both parties.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  35. Brad, Portland, OR

    If Bush did it, then Obama can do it, too. No more hypocrisy of pointing the finger at Obama unless you also pointed the finger at Bush when he did the same thing.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  36. Paul - North Carolina

    Since the White House is the president's residence I think he is free to invite anyone he pleases to dinner. Did you expect him to invite the current and former Republican contenders along with Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck? Jack, you're sounding more everyday like those whining tea partiers who are outraged at anything and everything Obama does. Are you lobbying for an offer from Fox News?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  37. Gary in San Jose, California

    Of course not Jack. But this is a symptom of a greater problem. We have a representative democracy and we allow our representatives to accept bribes in the form of contributions. It's kind of silly if you think about it. If they're willing to display this kind of quid pro quo in public can you imagine what they'll do in private?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  38. Pete in Florida

    Yes they should. Every other President has done it without criticism or complaint, so it would not be fair to deny it to Obama. If this practice needs to be ended, then end it right AFTER an election, not right before. Better yet, completely end private financing and funding of campaigns for ANY politicians – public financing only, with set amounts candidates can spend. But do it right AFTER an election, not before.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  39. Tomas O'Bolguidhir, Canandaigua, New York

    That's the way it has always been. There haven't been any assassinations so far so let's go with what works.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  40. TomInRochNY

    Well, it does show foreign politicians the right way to do government corruption. There we go, exporting our know-how again.

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    March 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  41. Greg in Arkansas

    Like it or not, this is the way our capitalistic society works......
    I don't like it....BUT
    I also don't like it when the banks give "rewards" for using their credit card services....or
    Automobile manufacturers give "rebates" for loyal customers... or
    Airlines give "rewards" to frequent fliers.....or when
    Cell phone companies give "free" phones......and.....especially when
    Satellite TV offers big "discounts" to NEW subscribers......
    Somebody has to pay for these "perks" and it is usually the little guy....
    I guess the only way you and I will ever get to visit the White House is to stand in line and get a ticket for the tour.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  42. Mr D

    Talk about "pomp and circumstance." This looks like another "prom" for the one percenters. I wonder if they used food stamps to pay for their meal. Let the rest of us eat cake. What a country.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
  43. Karl in Flint, MI

    Until private money is surgically removed from politics there will be fundraisers for all candidates. These people have been invited by past presidents and they will be invited by future presidents. They have real jobs, other then just campaign blunders, and no doubt fit in with the rest of this dinner crowd or they wouldn't have been invited. What's the problem?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  44. Tom Robberson

    Yes, because he is, like it or not, the President of the United States. Tom, Lawrence, KS

    March 15, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  45. james in greenville, nc

    Absolutely, Jack. The campaign fund-raisers are the ones running the country. The foreign dignitaries need to meet the people in control.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  46. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack, the old adage "Money talks and B.S. walks" applies here. It's also a case of the left hand washing the right and you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. People who raise money for politicians expect politicians, once in high places, to invite them along and politicians do exactly that if they're smart. And, like him or not. Barack Obama's no dummy.
    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    March 15, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  47. Debbie Whitecar

    Well, they've set the dinner table anyway. No biggy to add three dozen plates more...

    March 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  48. Ted

    Remember..." CHANGE IS COMMING "

    March 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
  49. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    Campaign fund raisers have been coming to the White House since the beginning of politics. Both before we knew who they were and after their identities were disclosed. These people are American citizens and tax payers, so it would be unconstitutional, un-American and down right foolish to craft a policy that placed the White House off limits if one were a fund raiser for Presidential or Congressional campaigns. What would be the next step? Stop or band campaign fund raisers from Capitol Hill?

    March 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  50. Kay

    Well maybe it's not ideal but it's better than paying them back by loans and grants – such as Solyndra that received 535 million or Beacon Power that got 43 million – both which have gone bankrupt.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
  51. Loren

    Sorry, but this seems to be a non-issue. Who else is he going to invite? Given a choice between a business person of the Republican ilk and one of the Democratic ilk, he is faced with a choice, and no one can fault him for inviting someone that is of his ilk (though it would tend to make for some boring dinner conversation with everyone agreeing on everything).

    March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  52. Josh from New Orleans

    Who get's to decide what is the proper use of the White House? The person who is living there, President of the United States. Was it proper for Bush to stop walking tours of the White House? Was it proper for Clinton to wear running clothes in the oval office? The White House is a symbol of freedom so the President should be free to do what they want.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  53. Matt, Miami

    Why not? They are people, too! They are more people than corporations are ;-D

    March 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  54. Martha Brooks

    Well, at least they got something cool for their "investment!" Few of us normal folks can say the same. P.S., if we did get an invite, we couldn't afford the appropriate outfit, so...

    Martha, Rew, PA

    March 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  55. Dave, Orlando, FL

    Add one more item to the list of un-kept promises. Citizens United is the single worst addlebrained decision ever from the supreme clowns and needs to be revoked. But that will never happen. To circumvent that insane, un-American and downright anti-American legislation, we need to do away, completely with private campaign financing. All candidates should be given, say ten million dollars to get themselves elected. No one can help them out with anonymous campaign ads. The candidate who spends that money the most effectively will get elected. And in the end, isn’t that what we really want in a President, someone who spends money most efficiently? It will also have the advantage of eliminating four year campaigns that begin the moment a candidate takes office. And further, the candidate can work on what he or she was elected to do, instead of spending the next four years repaying favors.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  56. Mike S., New Orleans

    Probably not Jack, even though every president does it. But since it is Obama, I'm sure it will be a huge issue to his adversaries who will cite it as proof that he is a Kenyan born Muslim Socialist Anti-Christ.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  57. Fred in Michigan

    Yes , it is quite alright. It is not something that is unique with President Obama; it is not something that is unique to Democrats. During the Reagan years, I recieved solicitations where for varying contributed amounts I could dine with various levels of elected Republican officialdom. I suspect the practice of inviting "friends" harkens back at least to the time of Andrew Jackson. It is called returning political favors; an American tradition.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  58. Leta

    Of course – the presidents before him did it – Pres, Obama is just trying to level the playing field.
    Blame it on the Supreme Court allowing this big donations to Super Pacs.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  59. Kevin, Chester Springs, PA

    You know, of all the issues facing the country today, like vote suppressing voter ID laws, a slowly recovering economy and Super Pacs being funded by billionaires, this does not deserve much of a discussion. I have no problem with inviting fundraisers to State dinners or other White House affairs. No problem at all. Move on Jack!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  60. David Gerstenfeld

    Jack, This is way to important a question for "the American people" to answer. It should be decided by the Surpreme Court.
    David, Las Vegas

    March 15, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  61. Larry Feierstein-Denver

    Gosh, I was on my way, after making a sizable 2 figure donation, but the gas hit over $4, so i thought best not to attend. WHo cares who gives the money and who dines with the pres? SUPER PAC< SUPER RICH< superduper. Its all greed and power, nothing changes but the amounts given

    March 15, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  62. Gigi Oregon

    I'm happy with it. I'm sure his guest enjoyed the evening. Let's get freedom ringing in the United States. From the White House to my house. And if you don't like the Idea join the Republican Party they don't like nothing...President Obama does. And come November 2012, President Obama is getting my conservative vote. Let Freedom Ring...for you to be grouchy and me to be polite.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  63. andy Lynn, MA

    If course fund raisers should be allowed at state dinners. What would you expect, politicians creating legislation without motivation? Cash motivates.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  64. Mary J Billings

    Boy, Jack; You just never let up on the POTUS, do you. As you say, that's the landscape.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  65. Sandstone.

    "Camper's Champer's! Who's paying for it, as Obama continues his sucking up to Lizzie Of London."

    March 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  66. Eugene Womack

    No.......Let these suck ups and political insiders meet in a convention hall. Jack, I've got a chest full of combat medals, in constant pain and can hardly walk for the rest of my life. I have never been invited to the White House. Like the saying goes, "Money talks".

    March 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  67. Susan-NJ

    Do you mean to say that Obama was going to ask the PM of UK for re-election money and these fund raisers were present to make the pitch? Ordinary citizens just don't get invited. Who should he invite GOP fundraisers. Don't get me wrong Obama uses most of the dirty tricks in the book to achieve his goals particularly in the baby abortion and counterseptive policies but in this Jack your being silly.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  68. Greg Turman


    This sounds like something president Obama would be good at, inviting the right people to a dinner party. Maybe he should consider doing this as a full time job and let the rest of us get back to work. Baby needs a new pair of shoes!
    Gregory Turman

    March 15, 2012 at 4:03 pm |
  69. Paul - Portland, Oregon

    Silly question, Jack. Of course they should be invited, providing that is, that they can swing–in Anna Wintour's case– the elite fashionista vote, come fall's presidential election.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  70. Evinia Bruce

    good grief Mr.Cafferty !!..can you EVER give Obama a break..?/ it's getting old and predictable ...
    With all the ZILLIONS Citizens United is pouring into The Republican coffers ..secret meetings between most of the candidates and the Koch Brothers ..Mr Adleson and his wife writing $1-5 million checks every week .....just to mention a few ... you have the temerity to question Obama's ethics!!!!!????......'ya gotta fight fire with fire ..what do you expect him to do ??...i believe Obama has renounced taking SUPER pac funds ... as sad as it is ...when has ethics ever gotten any polician voted into office.?....didn't you hear?? ..GREED IS GOOD!!...i lived in Texas for 18 years ..as they say .."it doesn't matter HOW you got it ..it only matters THAT YOU GOT IT!!!"
    B.C. Canada.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  71. Paul - Portland, Oregon

    Silly question, Jack. Of course campaign fund raisers should be invited to sate dinners, providing that is, they can swing–in Vogue Magazine's Anna Wintour's case– the elite fashionista vote for Mr. Obama, come fall's presidential election.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  72. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    I respect President Obama and will vote for him this election, but it saddens me to see how an energetic young man full of the hope he helped generate much through his virtues slowly become some of what he once detested. It is a plague that has befell Washington since its creation, and unfortunately one man will never be able to change it, but a nation could.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  73. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Looks like Obama has figured it out. If you can't beat them, join them.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  74. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    You said it yourself; "It's not unusual for presidents to reward big supporters by inviting them to dinners with dignitaries."
    President Obama also holds dinners for select people that donate only $3. What do you call THAT?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  75. Richard Texas

    Jack some people criticize others because it makes them feel good about themselves. In Obama's case he thinks it makes others feel good about him. The reality is that no one likes it no mater who points it out.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  76. Stephanie in Seattle

    Of course not. These guys just don't seem to care about the citizens of this country. The really sad things about obama..and many others is that they know no shame.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  77. elizabeth

    Huge taxpayer expense for any White House event. It should be conflict of interest, whether its GOP or DEMS, for donors to be invited to WH dinners. Comes close to bribery!!!! The White House is the people's house, where is my invite?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  78. Patricia

    With what SCOTUS has done, contributions going crazy, Koch brothers and their ilk trying to control elections i say get it all while you can. If I had money I'd sure as hell donate.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  79. Zoe

    When you're in a campaign mindset, a little disrespect to the White House is nothing compared to the perceived damage your opponent could do from your seat. Who cares if you take advantage of your position, so long as you stop a destructive maniac from having the power of the presidency?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  80. Stella in Manchester IA

    Yes, he needs a fair playing field, the Citizens United changed everything. If it was good enough for the former occupants it should be OK for Obama.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  81. Joel Brooklyn NY

    Why not stay consistent Mr. obama broke every promise he's made single payer,Gitmo,lobbyist in the white house just to name a few so why stop now?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  82. bill

    why not? as president it's your home and you should be free to invite whoever you like
    stop being such a pain, Jack

    March 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  83. John H. - Cary, IL

    Put simply: don't hate the player, hate the game. The system needs serious reforms. As you said, the President is only playing by the rules already put in place.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  84. Connie

    Why must everything that past presidents have done become such an issue when President Obama does the same? Oh, I know. SMH!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  85. elizabeth in D.C.

    Huge taxpayer expense for any White House event. It should be conflict of interest, whether its GOP or DEMS, for donors to be invited to WH dinners. Comes close to bribery!!!! The White House is the people's house, where is my invite?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  86. Hank Corbett - Jacksonville, NC

    Come on Jack, the man fought the good fight to keep big money out of political campaigns, but the Supreme Court put it all in the toilet with Citizens United. I don't like to see the White House used in this manner, but many people would be outraged if a far more expensive setting were to be used. I think, in the future, we will see far worse unless the Supreme Court does a re-think on how it thinks our politicians should be bought.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  87. Larry

    Really Jack? Where's the ethical issue with this? When the Supreme Court turned corporations into people with their ruling that allows all this corporate money to legitimately pour into the political arena, like any reasonable person would, the President needed to pivot!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  88. Margot

    You know, we taxpayers had to foot the bill for a bunch of "no bid" contracts with Halliburton during the Bush years. To the tune of a helluva lot more money that 48 dinners at the White House. You want the world to be different Jack?? Quit blaming this President for this kind of small stuff-it is a real waste of time and energy. Your anger for bigger things and your memory of them seems pretty selective to me.......We are still paying China for those Halliburton contracts aren't we? Margot in Washington

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  89. Mac

    Jack, I think you're just jealous the W.H. hasn't invited you. What's the point of State dinners anyway? Isn't it all just pomp and circumstance?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  90. frank dileo

    This is just another example of the dysfunction in washington. It goes against everything we have learned in school, this is a democracy. The more money and influence you have the greater your voice. This is the reason the middle class is shrinking we dont have enough money for our voices to be heard so all the rich go to their fancy parties and decide what is best for the rest of us.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  91. Renee

    With super pacs now in play, what alternative would you suggest? The current supreme court, which clearly has no problem with immorality, voted that corporations are people. Sometimes you have no choice but to fight fire with fire. Evil flourishes when good men do nothing. If that's your suggestion, then shame on you, Jack. If you've got a better idea, I'm sure we would all like to hear it.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  92. Carolyn - California

    Inviting high-roller contributors to a state dinner seems pretty harmless compared to giving them influence on policy decisions. Too bad all the members of Congress can't do the same, instead of giving away tax-funded projects to special-interest campaign bankrollers. So, Jack, who do YOU think should have been invited - cable-news hosts? 🙂

    March 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  93. Cal in CA

    It has long been a pay-to-play system in Washington as well as in state and local government. For far too many decades the American people have put up with it. If you think this locomotive can be stopped or will reverse course you're dreaming Jack.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  94. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    Jack, the Republicans are the ones that really pushed to get it where big corporations could donate as much as they wanted to since they get most of their money from them. Obama is doing what he has to in order to have a fighting chance against the old fat white evangelical republicans that get sick to their stomach when they have to say Mr. President to a African American I think it is great that we have a President that is so damn much smarter than the entire bunch of republican candidates put together.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  95. Wendy

    You want something done about it?????????? Take it up with CONGRESS and the SUPREME COURT! They are the ones that allow the contributions. And, the people are not even demanding it to stop. Until they clean house in Washington, its going to continue. I wouldn't hold my breath, though!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  96. Fred Mannerino

    Another one of your inane questions. Jack, we live in the real world and by now all of us except you knows how the world of politics works. Even Lincoln entertained supporters down to the lowest brained office seeker. The only reason the matter comes up now is you bring it up in support of the 24/7 news cycle. Why don't you discuss how many jobs will really be created by the Keystone Pipeline and why isn't U.S. steel piping used in the project?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  97. Shawn A.

    Gosh !!!! "For goodness sakes" leave President Obama alone, must we criticize or point out meaningless acquisitions??

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  98. Joyce

    No, but under the circumstances with the way Romeny has raissed money I would say it is justified this time. Obama would never have done the things he campaigned against if he had been honored as the President of the United States in place of being treated liike an out cast from some other country.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  99. Win Reed

    Jack, it is the right of the President to invite whomever he wants to his dinners. I suppose you think he should invite only those who refuse to donate to the Democratic party. How many non-Cafferty supporters have you had at your house for dinner lately? Stop trying to light a fire when all you have is wet wood.

    Win in San Diego

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  100. Errol McAlexander

    They all do it so what's the problem. Congress should prohibit the practice or we live with it.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  101. mike sey, Ottawa

    Why not , Jack? A space at a White-House dinner is probably one of the more innocuous perks with which a President can reward or thank political donors. It also makes up a more interesting table than one filled with loud-mouthed, self important radio and TV commentators and pundits, flattering and fawning.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  102. Linda Drum

    When you walk into Dodge and everyone is armed to the hilt, you would be pretty stupid not to come prepared.. As far as where the fundraising occurs, these are desperate times and call for extreme measures... have you listened to the Republican candidtes lately Jack? Run for cover or do what you have to do.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  103. Jerry in Alaska

    Well of course they should be included Jack.
    It's part of Obama's SHARING EQUALLY Plan of the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, Now thats a Dream Act you can Believe In, with Hope & Change for all.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  104. eric

    jack...if you contributed and got the invite you'd go and then say, "i was invited because I work at CNN." Look at how much money is spent on campagins today...does this really matter. It's been going on a long time and I'm a republican. Look at how much money Romney is spending. I think that's a joke.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  105. Laith F. Gulli

    Laith from Columbus
    Hi Jack;
    Hell NO–NO–NO. What really bugs me Jack is that WE the PEOPLE really have no say about any of it. I really do not think Politicians should be having State Dinners and enjoying the high life at a cost to taxpayers in this day in our history. I think We the PEOPLE should go to website and vote if we allow the President to have a State Dinner or not, every time. That way I will know and be a part of the decision, not just sitting on the sidelines.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  106. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    I don't care who he invites to dinner, as long as he's paying for it with money he EARNED and not the taxpayers money!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  107. Cliff Glass - East Rockaway, NY

    What's the matter, Jack, did you forget the cinematic counsel of bringing more than a knife to a gun fight? Your sermonizing would be better channelled gathering signatures on a petition for a Constitutional amendment to allow only public financing for campaigns. You need to aim higher.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  108. INA IN OHIO

    jack you seemed so very upset about this why? past presidents have done the same thing. so stop hating on obama. it's not very becoming of you to show anger on an old continuing thing that past presidents have done .you should know better jack .SHAME ON YOU TAKE A CHILL PILL.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  109. John L

    Jack from a student POV the campaign bundlers are worthy of recognition but have nothing to do with the State Dinner. What did they bring to the table, other than money? There are more deserving people who should have been invited.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  110. Tim

    Jack, this is the Supreme Court's fault not Obama's. He's playing the hand that he was dealt. My question is why didn't you ask this question when both Bush's were in the White House??? They did the same thing!!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  111. Fereidoon

    Why not Jack? Temporary or not, it is his home and he can invite anybody he wants to his house as long as the Taxpayer is not paying for it. No more your business than me inviting friends to my house.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  112. Jon in New York, New YOrk

    IOne company you mentioned struck me in particular. If the President wants to rub shoulders with private equity firms like the Blackstone Group, that removes any leg he has to stand on in criticizing Mitt Romney's activities with BAIN Capital. They both have bought companies and 'downsized', all in an effort to just simply flip them for the next private equity firm. In the meantime they are playing with people's lives and livelihoods. Overall I would say no, money has no place in diplomacy. What's next, an invitation to accompany our Ambassador to the U.N. for a certain amount of campaign donations?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  113. James D.

    As you said the White House belongs to the people but the President lives there. You can look at it as a landlord/tenant relationship. I can not tell my tenants who they can or cannot invite to a dinner,there for, we the people should not dictate who the President can or cannot have for dinner.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  114. Audrey

    Yes it is just fine, the Republicans and the Supreme Court started all this, so please no whining from the right, what is good for the goose is good for the gander, one would be stupid to pass up the opportunity and give the Republicans the upper hand like they wanted. It back fired on them but when you start passing laws that benefit 1 party, I guess you can call it karma.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  115. AB

    Jack, let me clue you in on the realities of election politics: Presidents have the right to invite who they want to their White House Dinners. President Obama has the right to invite his campaign doners to a State Dinner in honor of the British Prime Minister and that is his perogative, not yours. Obama didn't create the system, he is just playing the cards he was dealt and that does not make him corrupt. It takes big money to run election campaigns. The impetus for campaign reform has to come from the constituency–you and me as well as all other voting Americans, and not from politicians. We have to demand campaign finance reform and be willing to pay for it in the form of higher taxes. This means that all campaigns for federal office must be publicly financed. I am willing to pay for this reform. Are you??

    March 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  116. beck

    I don't see what your problem is Jack. I see no problem with the president inviting who he wishes GW did the same thing. This President is the best we have. Who would want anyone one of those four clowns from the GOP side to be president. Sometimes when you comment on the president it seems you are sounding like a rethuglican. What happened to your non biased impartial reporting Jack. Enough negative reporting on what the president does why don't you report on the negative GOP rethugicans (republican) presidential contenders. Get a grip Jack!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  117. Wes

    Politics is a game… a money ruled, corrupted game which won’t change until Congress passes laws that eliminate the power of money in the political process… things like clean money and overturning Citizens United but that’s like getting pigs to leave the food trough… don’t hold your breath. If you expect to win in this game, you play by the rules whether you like them or not and with the new Supreme Court ruling, it’s the Republicans backed by corporations that are what we, the middle class, have to fear.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  118. Cee.Louisiana

    Not really, I also dont think we should have Super Pacs, and Corporations are NOT people.......I also think if we pooled all the money from all the Presidential candidates....we could retool and put America back to work......this money benefits the top 1%......and quite frankly I am tired of it......

    March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  119. Sam from Waterbury, CT

    Yes. I'm nosy and want to know which fat cats are contributing to the president's campaign. I also think that this is a part of what Obama ran on in 2008;,transparency.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  120. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    If they were paid political fundraisers, the answer would be no. Bundlers are supporters with friends, not political staff members who are paid by the campaign's dime. They are, in essence, his friends. If you can't invite friends over for a great dinner party, something is wrong in America. Maybe the media should be disinvited instead.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  121. William Walker of Louisa VA

    The President (and his predessors) are hypocrits, as well as Congress. Washington is corrupt and has been for a lot of years.We need terms limts for Congress, and 1 six-year term for the President. That would eliminate fundraisers for reelection.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  122. Jim

    You are not being totally fair and transparent Jack. I think he probably would do things different both with bundlers and Super Pacs but he can not compete against the Republicans with one hand tied behind his back. With Romney probably being the nominee and his huge wealth and the huge amounts of money he and his Pacs are already raising and spending Obama has no choice but to do the same thing to survive.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  123. Roy brewster

    Of course Obama should use his resources to compete with Republican Super fund. Do you think he needs to have an alternate living quarters while he is President? The white house is as much mine as yours Jack!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  124. Thinkforyourself, OK

    Obama does nothing but fundraise. Worse President in U.S. history. Worse than Jimmy Carter.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  125. shwebell

    Hey Jack, isn't the White House where President Obama lives? Are you saying Obama's contributors shouldn't be allowed in his own house?

    March 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  126. S.Tveskov

    Jack, Have you forgotten that all new and campaigning Presidents have idealistic promises that they realize, once in office, are impossible to keep. Especially when faced with a GOP controlled Congress and appointed Supreme Court that makes decisions like Citizens United. Ironically, the only way that Obama can institute more promises is to be President without an election to worry about so that he can do what he thinks is right and what his supporters want. So he must win and to win he must play by the rules set by his opponents: invite rich friends to the White House, but at least he also invites the poor and underprivileged and he must now allow Superpacs. BTW, no matter how many "millionaires" he invites, it won't equal the amount of "billionaires" that the GOP Has as supporters. That is the difference, the President is supported by the little people, my words, millionaires, middle class donors of $5-$100 and the poor, who will vote for him and who seem to be a wide majority these days. on the other hand the GOP will always have the rich and powerful to think about as they make their decisions. The 99% chose Obama despite the necessary evil of rubber chicken parties. BTW, do you REALLY think he enjoys those?!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  127. Dave

    Financing rules changed to give Republicans an advantage this election year if the President continued to get most of his funds from small donors. Republicans appointments to the Supreme Court said corporations are people and money was free speech. What? Obama should cave in to this and not fight against the changed rules? I agree with the Occupy Movement: Corporations can't be people, because they have no heart.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  128. C. Underwood

    I watch CNN everyday and it seems to me that you only offer "Constructive" criticsm against the president. Have you thought about how the Republicans say corporations are people? Well, the president MUST do what he needs to do to raise the necessary funds to get re-elected. He needs to make sure he gets another term to fix the mess that a Not very smart Republican president and congress caused for this whole country and the 99%. In addition, I really think they need to replace you and replace you soon. You look and act like a VERY bitter human being. Lastly, I believe they need NEW blood in there (CNN), new ideas and NO bias against democrats as you ALWAYS display.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  129. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    For the one percenters and politicians this is just business as usual. For the everyday person, it is in your face and one must accept it. As the saying goes, " have the wisdom to change the things you can and accept the things you can't". It's "a tough pill to swallow. Gulp !

    March 15, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  130. marybeth, massachusetts

    Yes. I seem to remember that the Bushes invited donors, with nary a peep from you or anyone on the Republican side. What's good for the goose should be good for the gander.

    Besides, money is speech, and Citizens United opened up a whole new world in campaigns and donors and donations.

    Don't be such a hypocrite Jack. You have no problem with W doing this, so you should be dogging on Obama for the same behavior.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  131. Virginia - Atlanta, GA

    It has been done through many Presidencies and is a far better way of saying '"Thank you" than promising money or roads or some other thing to help some business advance their own project.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  132. Langston

    Why not? Afterall, it's the activists who are the crucial players who define and control the party, not the candidates. If Romney can raise windfalls of cash via super donor's why criticize the President for doing the same? Rich benefactors keep campaigns alive and the median voter keeps rich benefactors alive. I am confident that Obama campaign supporters who were present can read JFKs 1960 speech, regarding absolute separation of church and state, and keep their food down, unlike GOP candidate Santorum.

    Warner Robins, GA

    March 15, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  133. Valtom from New Mexico

    I get so tired of these posts saying that "they all do it". NO, NO, NOT TRUE. Only egos like Obama need this!.
    Former President George W. Bush hosted just six state dinners in his eight years in office, compared to 29 state dinners during the Clinton administration.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  134. Ryan, Utah

    I don't see how poeple are upset over this?! Inviting fundraisers to these events is common practice for sitting Presidents. The President should use all his resources available o him to be able to compete with the GOP, especially considering how the Republican candidates are spending obscene amounts of money to deface themselves. Is the media naive enough to think they will not use the same tactics on the President but on a more massive level? Let's get real!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:59 pm |