President Obama's perfect, four-hour homecoming Thursday included exulting in a Chicago White Sox no-hitter and raising around $3 million. But what was in it for your garden variety rich American?
Well, at the North Side home of Penny Pritzker, a close Obama chum and super fundraiser, there was a large, if culinarily unimaginative, early-evening buffet dinner, according to resourceful Mike Flannery, a reporter for Chicago's WBBM-TV and the best political journalist in town.
A highly-placed kitchen source told Mike that the buffet for the 100 attendees included rack of lamb, beef tenderloin; Ahi tuna; crab cakes; mushroom tart; lobster and shrimp jambalaya; flat breads with chutney and goat cheese; and rice crackers and seaweed salad.
for dessert, it included tea cookies; fruit finger tarts; chocolate
mousse; mini-cheesecakes; strawberries and blueberries; and chocolate
éclair. Again, it wasn't Alinea, a nearby restaurant deemed the best in
"You don't spend $15,000 for dinner," said Norman Bender, a plumbing magnate from
But before you did, you apparently had to watch highlights prepared for Obama of that afternoon's rare perfect game pitched by White Sox star Mark Buehrle. Obama, if you didn't know, is a Sox diehard. But since there was at least one woman who came all the way from London, I could only wonder about perhaps being a cricket fan and paying $15,000 to see the President, only to face the obligation of watching video of a sport you had no clue about.
Regardless, folks did have a chance to speak to, and have a picture taken with, Obama. And, at least in one case, there was the opportunity to exhibit some nerve.
The interview wound up on the cutting room floor due to time constraints but Flannery did buttonhole Chicagoan Sheldon Baskin, who indicated that he'd confronted Obama on U.S. criticism of the coup that ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. If you recall, Obama was very public and immediate in justifiably denouncing the action as illegal.
So that meant Baskin was making an argument for the coup?
At that point that Flannery raised his own assumption, the lady at Baskin's side interrupted. "Shelly, Shelly, don't talk about it!" she apparently declared.
But, wait. So how did the President respond, Baskin was asked.
"He disagreed," Baskin said.
spent about 90 minutes at the apparently gorgeous Pritzker house before
heading to a less intimate hotel fundraiser, then back to
"Nobody in there was spending the college fund," he reported.
Of course, curmudgeons and Blue Dog Democrats would probably get dyspeptic over such distribution of funds on anything.
Now, if Obama, Rahm Emanuel et al. can only be as efficient in dealing with the Blue Dogs on health care as Buehrle was with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (dispatched in a wonderfully brief two hours and three minutes), there's hope for success on that front.
Of course, the growing
Hey, a left-hander selected in the 38th round of the baseball draft in 1998, meaning his prospects were slim to none, pitched his second no-hitter Thursday.
(Photo: Pete Souza/Official Presidential Portrait)
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