By Uptin Saiidi
As Republican presidential hopefuls continue on the road to the primaries, President Barack Obama’s campaign for re-election is in full force and trying creative ways to find donors. And not just from the ultra rich.
Last month, the campaign ran a promotion that for a minimum donation of $10 you’d be entered into a lottery to have dinner with the President.
The campaign made true on its promise as four people from across the country were chosen and traveled to Washington, D.C. to dine with Mr. Obama. In a video released by the campaign, their trip is documented leading up to the dinner at a nearby DC restaurant.
One of the winners was Juanita, a teacher from Colorado who worried, “I just hope I remember the questions I’ve been wanting to ask him.”
Ken, a United States army veteran from Arizona, claimed, “It’s going to be the most special moment I’ve ever had in my life.”
Casey has a small software development company in Minneapolis and was just eager to hear about the day-to-day life of a President. “What does a president’s day look like?” he asked. “Dudes like me never get to hear about.”
“When they called, I pretty much dropped my tea,” Wendi, a retired college teacher from Indiana, recalled. “It didn’t feel real, and now I’m here.”
Once seated at the table, the President entered the dining room and wasted no time with formalities. “It’s like he knew you,” Juanita said. “He’s like your neighbor or cousin who came over.”
After talking about Halloween and admitting he’s become too high profile to take his daughters trick-or-treating, the President asked, “Give me a sense of what’s going on out there, are we making investments so everyone has a shot?”
He brought his question back to his own story. “The only reason I’m here is because someone invested in me or my mom or my grandparents.”
Casey asked his question about the day-to-day life of a President, in which Mr. Obama revealed, “I’m not a morning guy, I’m more like a late-night guy, wake up at 7, go to the gym, get down to the office at 9, basically 9 to 6:30 is just packed. At 6:30, even if I’m really busy, I’ll stop go have dinner with the girls, probably until about 8, then I use about 8 until midnight or 1am, that’s when I’m doing a lot of writing.”
Despite declining approval ratings this year, the President told the guests he just needs more time. “This election is more important in some ways than 2008, because we will not be able to finish what he started,” he said. “So there’s a lot at stake. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I’m pretty persistent, anything worthwhile, it just doesn’t happen overnight, all you want to do is make sure you keep your eye on that North Star.”
In case you want to try your luck with having dinner with the President, the campaign is doing it again. Except this time it’ll cost even more to be entered with the minimum donation set at $25. While it might take some extraordinary luck to get picked, it’s still probably a lot cheaper than attending a fundraising dinner. And maybe more personal, too.