Obama Hits New York, Adored and Unapproved

Despite a poll showing 45% approval, he has no trouble raising money

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Only 45 percent of New Yorkers approve of how President Obama's handling his job--but it's the right 45 percent, okay? Thursday night, while seven guys and one lady who want to take his job were picking at each other at the third Republican primary debate, Obama raised a cool $2.3 million in New York City. "This is a pretty good looking crowd," the president told an audience of 50, which included Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Wintour, Jimmy Fallon, and Alicia Keys, in Harvey Weinstein's basement, Agence France Presse reports. They each paid $35,800 to be there.

Outside Weinstein's townhouse, only 45 percent of New Yorkers surveyed by Quinnipiac said they approve of the job he's doing in D.C. National Journal's Rebecca Kaplan reports that in "the most heavily Democratic large state" by the magazine's estimation, only 48 percent think he deserves reelection. Obama won New York with 63 percent of the vote in 2008, and this is the first time Obama has ever had a negative approval rating in the state. But Obama can take comfort in the fact that within the 45 percent that approve of him are the New Yorkers with lots of money.

Before he hung out with the movie stars, Obama had an even more intimate session -- appealing to just 15 donors to help him get reelected--at the Manhattan Ritz Carlton. But back downtown at Weinstein's home, he said he was feeling the weight of of the country's many problems. He invoked Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: "I think that we forget when he was alive there was nobody who was more vilified, nobody who was more controversial, nobody who was more despairing at times," Obama said, according to ABC News' Devin Dwyer. Obama continued:
There was a decade that followed the great successes of Birmingham and Selma in which he was just struggling, fighting the good fight...
What he understood, what kept him going, was that the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice. But it doesn't bend on its own. It bends because all of us are putting our hand on the arc, and we are bending it in that direction, and it takes time.  And it's hard work. And there are frustrations.
And then Weinstein gave him a present: a preview copy of the upcoming Margaret Thatcher biopic starring Meryl Streep.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.