Barack Obama raked in $7.8 million Sunday at three separate fundraisers in San Francisco, telling a VIP dinner crowd — many of whom paid $14,250 a head to attend — that he would win the presidency in November but to expect a tough battle with Republicans in the meantime.
The sold-out functions were held at the Fairmont Hotel on Mason and California streets, and attended by hundreds of supporters who were willing to dish out thousands to attend a function supporting the senator’s presidential campaign, said fundraiser John Roos, a Silicon Valley Attorney.
The event was atteneded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Anna Eschoo, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, among many others. Entertainment was provided by rocker Jackson Browne and Graham Nash, of the folk-rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Roos said.
Roos said the first event was a small gathering of Indo-American supporters, followed by a dinner – a seat at which could be bought for $28,500 per couple – attended by about 350 and sold out about a week before the event. A reception followed that, attended by somewhere between 1,300 and 1,600 guests, Roos said – all at about $2,300 a head, sold out over the weekend.
“The money’s still rolling in,” Roos said. “I think we’ll break $8 million when all’s said and done. The energy level was just unbelievably high.”
Obama was introduced at the dinner by Pelosi, who called him “a leader God has blessed us with at this time.”
Obama told supporters that, “Johm McCain, all he wants to do is talk about me.”
“They know they can't win on the issues. So what they'll do is they'll try to scare people:'He's risky. He's risky. We're not sure,” he said.
At an April fundraiser in this liberal city, Obama remarked about bitter small town voters who “cling” to guns and religion, which rival Hillary Rodham Clinton seized on as evidence Obama was an elitist.
Obama avoided any such characterizations this time but did say many voters are angry and confused.
“The fact of the matter is, at a certain point, when government has not been serving the people for this long, people get cynical. They tune out,” he said. “And they start saying to themselves, a plague on both your houses. They are willing to consume negative information more frequently than positive information, for good reason. They've seen how promises haven't been kept.”
Obama has maintained a strong fundraising pace, bringing in $51 million in July to McCain's $27 million. But his campaign has also been spending at a rapid clip and the Illinois senator has turned down public funding for the general election campaign, requiring him to keep up a robust fundraising schedule for the fall.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.