President Obama is in town today to meet with the FBI agents credited with stopping a terrorist plot to bomb NYC subways. But that pat on the back at FBI headquarters near City Hall is just the morning's agenda; in the evening it's all about the Benjamins. (Or, rather, the Grover Clevelands.) Tonight the President will speak at a $30,400-per-couple dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle; the event is expected to raise $2 million to $3 million for the DNC. Want to see Barry but dating a deadbeat who can't float the 30 grand for the Mandarin? All is not lost.
Later tonight, Obama will also appear at a health care rally at Hammerstein Ballroom. $100 tickets are sold out, but $250 orchestra tickets are still on sale! Alternatively, you can watch Obama's Hammerstein appearance live online. It's almost exactly one year since then-candidate Obama stepped onstage at Hammerstein and told supporters, "Don't underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Don't underestimate our ability to screw it up. I want everybody running scared."
Obama is expected to make his first public comments in support of NYC Democratic mayoral candidate Bill Thompson at the DNC event, according to the Daily News. Thompson will attend the fundraiser, and Mayor Bloomberg will not see the President today. Governor Paterson, still rumored to be "smarting" from the Obama team's attempt to push him out of the governor's race, was invited but will not attend because he's almost "unilaterally focused on this budget issue," according to an aide. The lavish fundraiser will also funnel money to Bill Owens, a Democrat trying to win a special election in an upstate New York congressional district.
1010WINS notes that because Obama coupled today's fundraising sprint with the official "thank you" to counterterrorism workers, the political campaigns won't have to absorb much of the cost of presidential travel; instead taxpayers will be picking up the tab. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of House conservatives, issued a statement sneering, "The clock is ticking in Afghanistan. Hopefully the president can still hear it over the ringing of the cash register.''