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Obama, raising funds his way, to come to NY

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama will travel to New York this month to survey the ruins of the Democratic fundraising hierarchy he helped destroy.

On Wednesday, the president will attend two private dinners in Manhattan to benefit the Democratic National Committee. He'll be guest of honor for a $30,000-a-head event at the four-story Sullivan Street town house of Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who is an outsider to the traditional fundraising firmament of Wall Street investors.

That more moneyed club, which views even the arbiter of high fashion as part of a lower circle of donor, will have its own earlier event at the Grill Room at the Four Seasons hotel. That venue wasn't the first choice of these insiders. The White House nixed an earlier plan to hold the dinner at the home of Marc Lasry, a major Wall Street figure and supporter of the president.

The message was clear. Obama has dismantled the old apartment circuit traveled by past Democratic standard-bearers and has no interest in putting it back together again. He has turned his back on a tradition of aggressively raking in financial sector dollars, but also of soliciting, in intimate settings, the unfiltered feedback of the captains of an industry he is transforming.

"That era is over," said John Catsimatidis, a supermarket magnate who hosted the Clintons several times at his apartment and threw a fundraiser for Obama when he was a senator. The donor hosted so many events in his place that "my apartment was probably wired by the Secret Service," he ventured. - The Washington Post

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