Obama campaign courts small donors with dinner offer

Want to have dinner with the president? It’ll cost you.

The Obama campaign is once again trying to build an army of small donors ahead of the 2012 election, and drawing on some familiar gimmicks in the process.

The latest came in an email to supporters Wednesday, offering the chance to have an exclusive dinner with President Obama and three other guests. But first you have to donate $5 (or as much as $5,000, if you’re so inclined) for his reelection effort.

“This won’t be a formal affair. It’s the kind of casual meal among friends that I don’t get to have as often as I’d like anymore,” Obama says in the email.


“I’m not asking you to donate today just so you’ll be entered for a chance to meet me. I’m asking you to say you believe in the kind of politics that gives people like you a seat at the table -- whether it’s the dinner table with me or the table where decisions are made about what kind of country we want to be.”

The email is signed simply, “Barack.”

Obama’s 2008 campaign used a similar offer to help raise funds (see video below). Now, however, he’s more than just a candidate, but president of the United States.

It’s unclear where the dinner will be -- the fine print says the winner will get round trip tickets to fly to “a destination to be determined.” The disclaimer also pegs the approximate retail value of this offer at $1,075.

Obama has stepped up the pace of more traditional campaign fundraising of late. This week, he’s already spoken at fundraisers in Florida and Puerto Rico, where the price of admission was far higher than $5.