Aides to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) scheduled pricey luncheons, roundtables, readings, V.I.P. receptions, dinners and policy dinners with campaign officials and advisers, offering donors a taste of his potential administration.
Supporters could eat dinner in Los Angeles with Warren Buffett, an Obama adviser and one of history’s shrewdest investors, for $28,500, the federal limit for donations by an individual to a national party committee.
Or they could attend a “V.I.P. reception” with the sage of Omaha for $10,000, or an “economic roundtable” for just $1,000.
U.S. & World
The Obama campaign declined to comment on the schedule.
A “Round Table Discussion” in Boston with Robert E. Rubin, who was Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton and talked on the phone with Obama as the financial crisis broke out, cost $28,500.
And a reception in Boston with former Sen. Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), a possible chief of staff in an Obama White House, was offered for $500 or $2,500.
Tickets to a reception in Boston with Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a possible secretary of Defense in an Obama cabinet, were offered for a bargain-basement $250 or $500.
Obama has raised more than $600 million for his campaign, $150 million of that in September alone. For comparison, President Bush, who at the time was the richest candidate ever, raised just $367 million in his entire two-year reelection cycle.
Much has been made of Obama’s canny mining of small-dollar donors, with constant e-mails asking for donations of as little as $5. The average donation in September was $86. Two-thirds of the $150 million was raised through the Web.
But his campaign also has an elaborate machine for courting big check-writers. Obama kept the checks flowing this month with a gold-plated schedule of headliners who would have new prominence in a Democratic Washington.
A reception, policy discussion and lunch was offered in Newark, N.J., with David Cutler, Obama for America’s senior health-care adviser, for $500 for a guest or $2,300 for a V.I.P.
And a reception and discussion at Smith & Wollensky steakhouse in Washington with Neera Tanden, domestic policy director of Obama for America, was offered for $250 or $1,000.
An admiring Republican official who looked at the list called the approach, “Very unusual. Creative.”
An e-mailed October “national schedule of upcoming events across the country for Obama/Biden”was provided to Politico by one of the recipients. Among the offerings:
—Luncheon in New York with Dennis Ross, Special Middle East Coordinator under President Clinton — $10,000, $5,000, $2,500 or $1,000.
—Reception in Belmont, Mass., with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick — $2,500, $1,000, $500 or $250.
—Reception in New York with Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Obama’s running mate —-per couple $28,500, $14,250, $5,000 or $1,000.
—Reception in Chicago with Michelle Obama — $28,500, $10,000 or $2,500.
—LGBT Reception in Chicago with Michelle Obama — $15,000, $10,000, $2,500 or $1,000.
—LGBT Reception in New York with Senator Biden — $10,000.
—Private Dinner in Chicago with Tony Lake, Dennis Ross & Dan Shapiro — $10,000.
—Reception in Palm Springs, Calif., with Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Financial Services Committee — $1,000 or $250.
—Reception in Boston with Theo Epstein, general manager of the Boston Red Sox — $2,500, $1,000, $500.
—Reception in Boston with Tony Lake, Clinton’s national security adviser —$5,000 or $2,500.
—Reception in Cambridge, Mass., with Tony Lake, $2,500, $1,000 or $500.
—Reception and briefing in Cambridge, Mass., with campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett — $5,000 or $1,000.