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Web Special | Birthday date with Obama

Web Special | Birthday date with Obama
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First Published: Mon, Aug 04 2008. 01 10 PM IST
Updated: Mon, Aug 04 2008. 01 10 PM IST
Boston: Hundreds of admirers and fans of the democratic party’s presidential candidate Barack Obama, slogged over the weekend, organizing cook-outs, voters registration drives and fund-raising events across the state but few are likely to catch a glimpse of the leader, leave alone wish him a happy birthday, when he drives into town today for a fund-raising dinner event this evening.
Dinner with Obama, who turns 47 today, will cost $28,500 per couple and at that price, not many of his grassroot supporters will be able to afford a seat at the elegant State Room, atop the 33th floor of the State Street building in downtown Boston.
And yet, says one of the organizers of this event who did not wish to be named, “we are turning away requests from dignitaries, VIPS and senior members of the Boston police, who want to attend”. He confirmed that, “every seat in the room, with a capacity to house 800 people, has been booked well ahead of the scheduled event”.
Boston’s rich and famous, largely owners of businesses, will get to break bread with the presidential candidate at the dinner event that is scheduled to take off at 5 pm. An hour before that, Obama loyalists who want to be part of the birthday celebrations, have the option of paying $4,600 to be a sponsor, $2,300 to be a friend or $1,000.
The catch is that even if they do manage to pay the minimum $1,000, it is not clear if Obama will be present. There is a likelihood that the evening might just be socializing event with other Obama admirers and campaign managers.
“I have paid $1000 in bits and pieces towards the campaign because I so much believe Americans are in need of a change” said 32 year-old Betty Thomas (name changed on request). “But I don’t have $1,000 to pay at one go, to enable me attend the reception event.”
Democratic party representatives who spoke to Livemint on condition of anonymity said this is likely to be his last event in Boston before the elections. Obama, who has roots in Boston, having graduated from the Harvard Law school, last came to Boston prior to the Massachusetts primary that he lost to co-contestant and then strong contender for the party’s presidential nomination, senator Hillary Clinton
Last week, he concluded what is widely being seen as a successful whistle stop tour of Europe, visting heads of nations where he addressed thousands at an event in Germany, to quell criticism that he is weak on foreign policy and relatively inexperienced in international diplomacy.
While he did seem to have hit a perfect ten with heads of nations that he visited, the effort proved to be further grist for the rival republican campaign, with John McCaine labeling him the biggest celebrity in the United States and likening him to party people such as Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.
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First Published: Mon, Aug 04 2008. 01 10 PM IST