As Mitt Romney continues to court wealthy Wall Street donors for his presidential bid, Barack Obama is doing some aggressive fundraising of his own with an unlikely crowd: NBA basketball owners and superstars.
Dallas Mavericks star Vince Carter hosted a fundraising dinner at his Orlando mansion on Thursday with a host of basketball stars and those who could afford the $30,000 ticket to hear President Obama discuss his campaign theme of fairness in America.
The gathering of 70 people included Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, and former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning. A few stars couldn't attend but also paid the $30,000 ticket price, including the Miami Heat’s LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Obama is well-known for his love for basketball. See the video here:
The first $5,000 of each check went to Obama’s re-election campaign, Obama for America, and the rest to the Democratic National Committee. Officials estimated the dinner brought in $2.1 million.
Obama spoke mostly of economic themes. He told the crowd "we have weathered the worst of the storm" of a bad economy, but that people everywhere are still hurting.
"Obviously, those here, we’ve been blessed," Obama said. "But one of the great things about America and one of the great things about professional sports is we’ve all got cousins, uncles, family members, who are still struggling. And we are reminded we have a lot more work to do."
"We want success. We want to make sure that somebody like Vince Carder can build a house like this," Obama said, waving to a house with 29,000 square feet of living space — so big it actually dwarfs the full-size, indoor basketball court.
People working toward such success, "might not have the same vertical (leap) as Vince, but they may have just as much talent in the arts or science," he said.
Obama said his administration is trying to make the economy work again for all, particularly for the middle class "and those who strive to enter the middle class."
After President Obama reversed course and urged his supporters to donate to Super PACs to compete with Mitt Romney's Republican fundraising machine, he is turning to high-profile comedians, Bill Maher, Hollywood insiders like Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and professional athletes to fuel his reelection bid.
The rise of Super PACs means that we can all expect a ton more high-profile fundraising dinners like these from Obama and Romney as they slug it out in the 2012 election.
Photo Credit: david_shankbone