Obama Impresses at Ilitch Fundraiser in Bingham Farms
Geoffrey Fieger, Jalen Rose and Willie Horton were among the 47 high-profile contributors at Wednesday's campaign stop.
President Obama met and dined with 47 high-profile campaign contributors at the Bingham Farms home of Denise Ilitch on Wednesday night, WWJ is reporting.
Among the more recognizable names were former Gov. Jim Blanchard, attorney and former gubernatorial candidate Geoffrey Fieger, former NBA and University of Michigan basketball star Jalen Rose and former Detroit Tigers great Willie Horton, according to the station's website.
“I don’t know if I was more excited about being with Barack Obama or sitting next to Willie Horton,” Fieger joked while speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950.
The well-known attorney said the president chatted with everyone informally.
“It was very interesting and compelling for probably about 15 or 20 minutes. He’s just a really good speaker. I mean, imagine just having a small dinner party and one of the guests stands up and speaks to you, but he happens to be the leader of the free world, and then he took questions,” he said.
Ilitch, a Birmingham businesswoman and chairwoman of the University of Michigan Board of Regents, reportedly thanked the president for never forgetting or forsaking Michigan. She told viewers of the Michigan Matters show that she would serve items at the party that showcased the state.
According to a pooled media report, the room the guests were in included a grand piano, a sweeping staircase leading to an overlook and tables filled with gold-rimmed dishes, Waterford crystal and centerpieces of purple hydrangeas and peonies.
Dinner included lamb, risotto, asparagus and sweet potatoes.
Obama was in town to try to close the contribution gap he has against likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney in Michigan. The Ilitch event reportedly cost between $10,000 and $40,000 to attend. Obama also appeared at a Democratic Party fundraiser at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn late Wednesday afternoon.
Local police warned of intermittent road closures along Telegraph Road near 13 mile between 6:45-9:15 p.m.
Obama arrived just after 7 p.m., The Detroit News reported, his motorcade of dozens of SUVs, police cars and officers on motorcycles slipping past curious neighbors in the wooded neighborhood and protesters on nearby 13 Mile Road opposed to military action in Iran.
Local Republicans may not have been on the guest list, but didn't let the president's visit nearby go unnoticed. Several of the GOP gathered at a pizza party at Oakland County Republican Party headquarters in Bloomfield Hills to lament the president's pricey campaign stop and plans to improve the economy through the proposed tax reform known as the "Buffet Rule."
“President Obama’s visit reeks of hypocrisy and demonstrates his thirst for wealth, as he dines at a fundraiser costing $40,000 a plate, after a weeklong assault on wealthy Americans,” Michigan Republican Party spokesman Matt Frendewey said in a written statement.
“This week, Obama said the 1% needs to pay their fair share, apparently this includes a $40,000 check to his campaign. In response to Obama’s hypocrisy, Republicans are hosting a middleclass ‘People’s Pizza Party’ on paper plates with plastic cups.”