With the debt ceiling debate now behind him, President Obama is turning his 50th birthday into a massive, nation-wide campaign event and fundraiser, complete with a lavish bash in Chicago tonight and related fundraisers around the country.
Obama will travel to Chicago this afternoon and kick off the festivities with remarks to the hundreds of parties being held across the nation by members of Obama for America 2012.
The campaign is calling these gatherings “meetings across the country to continue laying the groundwork for the 2012 campaign” that just happen to coincide with the real Chicago-based bacchanals, but we know better. This is a national celebration.
Then the real fun begins at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, where guests will pay from $50 to the maximum donation limit of $35,800 to attend an initial party and fundraiser featuring about 1,000 guests. Performers will include Jennifer Hudson, Herbie Hancock, and the band OK Go.
Afterward, Obama will host a smaller gathering of several dozen people who shelled out the biggest bucks.
Lynn Sweet of the Chicago Sun-Times reveals that Obama surrogates will be hosting special birthday themed fundraisers around the country today: Robert Gibbs will be in Boston, David Plouffe in Tampa; New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in New York City; David Axelrod in Los Angeles; and Donna Brazille will be in Oakland.
A separate party in the Rose Garden Thursday, the day of his actual birthday, cannot by law be money-related – at least not directly.