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Obama as ATM: Democrats want him as fundraiser, not campaigner

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

(Read caption) President Obama is embraced by Sen. Harry Reid at a fundraiser in Las Vegas July 8.

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It hurts, but it’s true: When you’re an unpopular president, candidates from your own party would rather see you raising money for them than standing beside them at a campaign event. Those photo ops with candidates in tight races often turn into attack ads by the other party.

President Bush went through that, and now it’s President Obama’s turn, in the first midterm elections since his own victory almost two years ago. But no hard feelings. Presidents know that their party’s base of donors will still pony up, even in tough times, and have some fun in the process.

Wednesday night, the president spent an hour apiece at two Manhattan fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee – one at the Four Seasons hotel, the next at the Greenwich Village home of Vogue editor Anna Wintour. (No word on whether the devil wore Prada. Press were not allowed inside.)

About 50 donors came to each event, and the price tag was designer, not knock-off: $30,400 per person, the maximum an individual may legally donate to a political party.

The high-dollar fundraising contrasted sharply with Mr. Obama’s stop earlier in the day at the Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, N.J., where he met with the owners and touted the importance of small business to the economy’s recovery.

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