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.

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Filed under: Fundraising • White House
March 17th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Is Gov. Palin GOP's best fundraiser?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin may step back into the national spotlight in June when she's been invited to headline a major Republican fund-raising dinner. The 2008 vice presidential nominee has kept a pretty low profile since John McCain lost the election last November.

Is Palin the best choice for GOP fundraiser?

She's made a handful of trips outside of Alaska, but has skipped big gatherings, like the Conservative Political Action Conference last month. But the upcoming spring gala is the main fund-raising event of the year for congressional Republicans, and the committee chairmen are confident Palin will bring the necessary star power to raise the big bucks.

They call her "one of the brightest rising stars" and "one of the most popular and recognizable faces" in the GOP. She's certainly recognizable, but for many of the wrong reasons. Of course it will probably be a challenge for anyone to raise money in this climate for the Republican Party, which is at all time low approval ratings.

So far, Governor Palin hasn't officially accepted the invitation. Polls suggest Palin remains a favorite of social conservatives; a February survey showed she is the candidate that Republicans said they will most likely support in 2012 - beating out both Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.

However, Palin remains pretty controversial among the national electorate. A Newsweek poll taken early this month found she had a 44 percent favorable rating - and 42 percent unfavorable. And if she runs in 2012, count on the Democrats to make a whole series of commercials out of those disastrous interviews she did with Katie Couric.

Here’s my question to you: When it comes to fundraising, is Gov. Sarah Palin the best the Republicans can do?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Fundraising • GOP • Sarah Palin
June 5th, 2008
04:58 PM ET

How can McCain compete with Obama’s money?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Barack Obama has been a money machine in the primary season, raising more than $272 million from primarily small donors.

It's got to leave John McCain, who raised about $122 million, scratching his head as he sizes up his opponent for the general election.

The Politico breaks down what the money story could mean come November, especially if Obama can tap into some of Hillary Clinton's fundraisers, who raised another 200 million dollars.

Consider this: If each of Obama's donors gave him $250, he'd have $375 million to play with in the two months leading up to the election – that would mean almost $50 million a week. McCain's donors number a few hundred thousand. Barack Obama has a rolodex with 1.5 million names in it. Unless John McCain can figure out a way to fatten his wallet, it could be a long slog to November.

Conservative estimates put Obama's fundraising haul for the general election at about $300 million, an amount that would allow the Democrat to compete in more states than McCain. It could also force McCain to spend money in states that should normally be safe territory for the GOP.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Party announced today that it would not accept contributions from Washington lobbyists, putting it in line with Obama's campaign pledges. Howard Dean and the Obama campaign say that the American people's priorities, not the special interest groups, will set the agenda in a potential Obama administration.

Here’s my question to you: How can John McCain compete with Barack Obama's fundraising abilities?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Fundraising • John McCain