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Obama Meets Party Donors in New York


Diamond Member
Jul 11, 2004
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Senator Barack Obama treaded onto Senator Hillary Rodham ClintonÂ’s home turf last night to meet with prominent Democratic donors and feel out those who might prefer the sound of President Obama to President Clinton (as in Hillary, not Bill).

Amid intensifying presidential musings by Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Obama met with George Soros, the liberal billionaire philanthropist, and then some other donors last night at Mr. SorosÂ’s offices.
One of the donors who met with Mr. Obama, and who spoke on condition of anonymity because he did not want to offend Mrs. Clinton, said that he and several others had supported Mrs. ClintonÂ’s Senate campaigns but were not committed to her as a presidential candidate.

“I like Hillary a lot, but I’m also impressed with Obama — his message, the way he connects to people,” said the donor, a prominent New York business person. “It’s a little too early for Democrats to be certain that Hillary is the strongest bet for 2008. There are a lot of good people interested in running.”

Speaking to reporters last night after those meetings and a speech to a charity dinner, Mr. Obama called Mrs. Clinton a friend and ally and said that if he decided to run for president, it would not be based on his assessment of her.

“I think she is tough, I think she is disciplined, I think she is smart, and I’m not one of those people who believe she can’t win,” Mr. Obama said. “I recognize it’s fun to set these things up as a contest between the two of us. I would say half my colleagues in the Senate think they’re going to be the next president.”

Mr. ObamaÂ’s reconnaissance mission came as Mrs. Clinton was accelerating talks about 2008 not only with New York elected officials, but also with some prominent donors whom she would like to lock in for a possible White House bid.

John Catsimatidis, a loyal Clinton donor, said he had recently received a phone call from Mrs. Clinton asking to have dinner before the holidays. He believes she wants to run for president and is moving to ramp up her Senate fund-raising operation for a White House campaign.

“I think they have a phenomenal political machine set up that’s far superior to any of the other candidates, or theoretical candidates,” Mr. Catsimatidis said. “Now they’re getting ready to put that machine to use.”

To that end, the Clinton team disclosed yesterday that they had a new national finance director lined up in case the senator decided to run. Jonathan Mantz, a fund-raiser for Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey and a former finance official for the Washington-based operations to elect a Democratic House and Senate, has agreed to work for her if she becomes a candidate. The senator is expected to make a decision this winter.

The Clinton team also announced that Phil Singer, a communications strategist for the Democrats’ successful takeover of the Senate last month, had agreed to play a similar role for Senator Clinton, should she run. Mr. Singer is a protégé of Senator Charles E. Schumer and was an aide on Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign.

Derek Shearer, a former ambassador, a donor to President Bill ClintonÂ’s campaigns and a supporter of Senator Clinton, said he believed Mrs. ClintonÂ’s moves did not reflect concern about financial or political competition from Mr. Obama or others, but rather an orderly process of consultation.

“She’s very deliberate about these things,” Mr. Shearer said. “What most concerns her is, does she think she could win and really make a difference in the country.”

Supporters of Mr. Obama, a freshman senator from Illinois, described his New York visit as a combination of fact-finding and meet-and-greet as he considers whether to seek the Democratic nomination. They said, and political analysts echoed, that Mr. Obama acknowledged Mrs. ClintonÂ’s home-state advantage in New York, but that there was surging interest and curiosity about Mr. Obama, an eloquent antiwar Democrat who, if successful, would be the countryÂ’s first black nominee for president.

Mr. Soros, an early supporter, was the host of a fund-raiser during Mr. ObamaÂ’s campaign for the Senate in 2004, but he has not publicly committed to any candidate for the 2008 race, said Michael Vachon, an aide to Mr. Soros. Mr. ObamaÂ’s staff asked to use the Soros space for last nightÂ’s meetings since it was near the Midtown hotel where the senator spoke at a fund-raiser for K.I.D.S. (Kids in Distressed Situations), which assists children living in poverty.

In his remarks to several hundred supporters of the charity, Mr. Obama recalled Robert F. Kennedy and the War on Poverty and said there was an “empathy deficit” in America that would close only when people imagined themselves in their poorer countrymen’s shoes.

At the news conference afterward, asked about the fatal shooting by police officers in Queens last month, Mr. Obama said his view was similar to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s: that the details were still under investigation, but that the 50 shots fired by police seemed “excessive.”

Given the power and firearms of the police, he added, Americans expected them to act with restraint, and “99 percent of the time they do.” “This may be one of the times when they didn’t,” he said.

While Mr. Obama was warmly received by the dinner audience — he won two standing ovations — his performance was not flawless: at one point he referred to “Jose” Posada of the New York Yankees instead of Jorge.:eek:


Diamond Member
Gold Supporting Member
Feb 22, 2004
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You know when i saw the title of this thread i was thinking Obama is just meeting them in New York to tick off Hillery.


Senior Member
Jun 30, 2004
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And I'm thinking boy he's ambitious...


Diamond Member
Nov 22, 2003
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And I'm thinking boy he's ambitious...

and very liberal if Soros is throwing bucks his way. On the other hand, if Obama is ignorant of Soros anti-Americanism, then he is way too the neophyte to be running for office.

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