US bankers: Obama campaign descends on London for fundraising drive among US ex-pats
- Obama campaign descends on London for fundraising drive among US ex-pats
Ed Pilkington, New York
Saturday September 1, 2007
Britain is to get its first taste of the Barack Obama fervour sweeping
through the US when his campaign arrives London in October hoping to raise
hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy Democrats in the capital.
A fundraiser to be held at the Landmark Hotel in central London on October
15 will provide a glimpse of the excitement surrounding the Obama
campaign. There will only be one drawback: Mr Obama will not be there in
person, he will be represented by his wife, Michelle.
The dinner, announced last night by ABC News, is designed to tap some of
the thousands of Democratic-leaning Americans living in Britain. Mr Obama
has proved himself to be a master of fundraising - a key to success in the
TV advertising-driven US primaries. In six months he has raised more than
$58m (£29m), compared with Hillary Clinton's $52m.
Though campaign chiefs are reluctant to let Mr Obama leave the US at a
time of intense electioneering across the US, Mrs Obama is seen as a
respectable stand-in. She is beginning to develop a presence of her own on
the campaign trail that will help to chip away at the advantage Mrs
Clinton has in the form of her spouse, the former president.
She has also begun to attract controversy. In a recent appearance on the
stump, Mrs Obama made what some interpreted at a dig at Mrs Clinton's
inability to control her husband's sexual indiscretions with an intern.
"If you can't run your own house, you certainly can't run the White
House," Mrs Obama said, though she later denied it carried any such
The London fundraiser will be subject to the same legal restrictions as
those in the US. Only American citizens will be able to contribute
financially, with an upper limit of $2,300 per person.
But the campaign has let it be known that anyone managing to draw together
contributions from a group of 10 or more eligible donors totalling at
least $23,000 - a process known as bundling - will be invited to a special
With wealthy American bankers increasingly spending time in London - the
chief executive of Goldman Sachs, for instance, spends six months of the
year in the City - the attraction for fundraisers seeking to drum up
support for the many candidates running for 2008 is self-evident.
Most candidates will not have the time to come in person, though Rudy
Giuliani, the former mayor of New York who is a leading contender on the
Republican side, will be coming to London on September 19 to give a speech
and hold a fundraiser.
British-based Americans could also play a small role in deciding who wins
the nomination for both parties. The Democrats will be holding a primary
election in Porchester Hall, west London, on February 5, the same date as
a swath of states. Supporters unable to reach London will be able to vote
on the internet.
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