MANHATTAN (PIX11)—So how swanky and intriguing is it to be on the inside of a high brow presidential fundraiser? Democratic strategist Basil Smikel, sums it up in three simple words, "It's pretty amazing."
If it's like that for those who are attending, what's it like for the host in the hours leading up to the event? Spike Lee shared with PIX11 some of his feelings prior to President Obama's fundraiser at his home Thursday night, "Very excited," said the award-winning filmmaker. As for what's on the menu, "Don't know."
Candace Jarkow, the CEO of Maverick Events, specializes in high-end, high-profile event production. When PIX11 consulted with Jarkow about what to expect at fundraiser at Lee's home, "Top of the line everything from the liquor to hor d'orves to the dinner." When asked what Lee could not overlook to ensure a successful fundraiser, "It's the registration. It's the first element of walking into an event and not having the hassle of having to wait." Securing the personal information of some of the the largest donors to a campaign is key. Attaining the names and numbers inside that donor's address book or Rolodex, well that can open up the door to millions.
One national strategist with ties to the administration told PIX11that what separates a presidential fundraiser from nearly every other event during the year, is that the crowd that is used to fashionably late, will be fashionably early. The reason, because they are paying more than $35,000 for 1-on-1 time for about, "five minutes," said Smikel. He speaks from experience from his years of working with the Clintons. On Thursday night, with such large donors coming out in support, Smikel said that the President will go in well-prepared so he can know who he's collecting his check from. "They get bios. They get background information. They're latest movies. How much money they've given to other candidates perhaps in the past? They're voting record to the extent that they have talked about issues. They've maybe endorsed candidates on the other side of the aisle." Essentially President Obama may very well know more about his supporters than they know about him.
A private fundraiser can run anywhere between sixty and ninety minutes. The President will mingle, snack, perhaps enjoy a glass of wine or beer, and address the intimate gathering while tackling some Q and A. According to Lee, he was going to do the right thing and not challenge the President, "I'm not going to be grilling him. Look we're just very happy it's going to be in the house. Again, it's not just me. There are going to be many people there who wrote a big check, so we're not going to try and monopolize the time.
President Obama will rake in anywhere from 1.4 to 1.5 million dollars if the reported total of number of guests show up. Lee said he's coming out ahead as well. His children Satchel and Jackson have enjoyed following the people who follow the President, the United States Secret Service.