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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beyoncé and Jay-Z Host Obama Fund-Raiser


On a day when Mitt Romney's videotaped remarks at a Republican fund-raiser dominated the campaign, President Obama attended two fund-raisers of his own in New York City, one hosted by the music super-couple Beyoncé Knowles and Jay-Z.

Mr. Obama did not address Mr. Romney's comments during the small portion of each event that reporters were allowed to cover, though he did speak about them earlier in the evening, when he taped an episode of CBS's “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

“My expectation is, if you want to be president, you've got to work for everybody, not just for some,” Mr. Obama said to applause. Later, he added, “What I think people want to make sure of is, you're not writ ing off a big chunk of the country.”

As is its usual practice, the Obama campaign allowed the White House press corps access only to Mr. Obama's introductory remarks, escorting reporters from the room before donors were able to ask questions of the president. During that brief period, Mr. Obama stuck to the script he generally uses with high-dollar donors.

“I don't want people to be complacent, but I also don't want people to be discouraged,” the president said to a fashionable crowd of about 100, seated on sofas, according to a pool report.

“We're on the brink of an election, but more importantly, we're on the brink of moving America in a direction where we're going to be more just, more fair,” he said at the 40/40 Club in Manhattan, where Jay-Z is an owner. “The economy's going to grow in a way that includes everybody, an America that's respected around the world because we're putting forward our best values and out best ideals.”

Ms. Knowles, who sang at Mr. Obama's inauguration in 2009, kept her remarks brief in introducing him. “I can't tell you how proud we are to host tonight's event with President Obama,” she said. “We believe in his vision.”

When he took the stage, Mr. Obama said, “To Jay and Bey, thank you for your friendship.” He said his wife, Michelle, and daughters, Malia and Sasha, were annoyed that he got to spend the evening with the glittery couple. Beyoncé, he said, was a role model to his girls, while Mr. Obama said he felt a sense of kinship with Jay-Z because, he said, “we both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are.”

Mr. Obama has attended his share of celebrity fund-raisers, from one at George Clooney's home in Los Angeles to an event at the Atlanta mansion of Tyler Perry, with Oprah Winfrey on hand. But this fund-raiser had some memorable touches, including a tower of 350 Champagne bottles by Armand de Brig nac, Jay-Z's favorite. Tickets cost $40,000.

At an earlier fundraiser with 200 donors at the Waldorf-Astoria â€" tickets starting at $12,500 per family â€" Mr. Obama said of the Republicans, “These people have super PAC's that are writing $10 million checks and are going to bury us under advertising like you've never seen before. We can't match these people dollar for dollar.”