2nd UPDATE, 7:34 PM: President Obama raised millions tonight in New York at two fundraisers, and he also got in his second visit with David Letterman since taking office. His Late Show With David Letterman appearance went from the fun (the President’s weight and Clint Eastwood’s chair interview of an invisible Obama at the RNC) to the serious (the violence resulting from the anti-Islamic film Innocence Of Muslims). Obama’s visit with Letterman, his seventh overall, will be broadcast tonight (see the promo below). Afterward, the President spoke to a $12,500-per-family crowd of about 200 at a campaign event at the Waldorf Astoria. He kicked off his speech with a dig at Eastwood: “Hello, everybody! Hello! (Applause.) Hello, New York! (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you so much. If you have a chair, go ahead and use it. If you don’t then — don’t.”, he said according to a transcript of his remarks released by the White House. The visit to the Big Apple was crowned by a $40,000-a-ticket dinner tonight hosted by Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z. Two attendees didn’t have to pay the going rate: Kindergarten teacher Ericka Dungee was the winner of NYC With Barack contest. Dungee brought her husband Bill with her. The dinner was at the 40/40 Club, which Jay-Z owns. The campaign pulled in $4 million from the dinner.
Here’s my condensed and edited version of the White House Pool reports of Obama’s remarks at the Beyoncé and Jay-Z event. Pool reports of the Letterman appearance follow:
POTUS spoke to about 100 people at a fundraiser hosted by Jay-Z and Beyoncé at the 40/40 Club. Tickets for cost $40,000. Donors in suits and dresses sat on sofas in a large, dark glassy room. Small tables of wine, champagne and finger food, including sliders, were in front of them.
Beyonce, wearing a red cocktail dress, and Jay-Z, in a suit, introduced POTUS. Both said very little.”I can’t tell you how proud we are to host tonight’s event with President Obama,” Beyonce said. “We believe in his vision.”
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, it is wonderful to see all of you. I’m so grateful for all your support.
Let me just begin by saying to Jay and Bey, thank you so much for your friendship. We are so grateful. Michelle and Malia and Sasha are mad at me because they are not here. (Laughter.) That doesn’t usually happen. Usually they’re like, we’re glad you’re going — we don’t need to go. But every time they get a chance to see these two they are thrilled, partly because they are just both so generous, particularly to my kids. And Malia and Sasha just love both of them.
Beyoncé couldn’t be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise — (applause) — and has so much talent. And Jay-Z now knows what my life is like. (Laughter.) We both have daughters, and our wives are more popular than we are. (Laughter and applause.) So we’ve got a little bond there. (Laughter.) It’s hard, but it’s okay. It’s okay. (Laughter.)
POTUS was more subdued while speaking at this event, though he hit many of his same themes. POTUS said he wanted a “more fair, more just” world. “We’ve made history in the past and we’re going to make history in the next seven weeks.”
PREVIOUS, 3:58 PM: In his first visit to The Late Show With David Letterman in almost three years, Barack Obama touched on the topics of Clint Eastwood and chairs and the Mitt Romney videos that are dominating cable news today. But the violence resulting from the anti-Islamic film The Innocence of Muslims seemed to make up the bulk of the interview. After The Late Show visit, the President’s headed over to a $12,500 per family fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria. About 200 people are expected to attend that event. Then it’s over to a $40,000 a ticket dinner for around 100 people with Beyoncé & Jay-Z. Here’s a condensed White House Pool Report on Obama’s seventh Letterman appearance, followed by a video preview of the President on the CBS show tonight:
Wearing a dark blue suit and light blue tie. Letterman said he looked great and immediately asked how much he weighed. The president responded that he weighs about 180 pounds, which prompted Letterman to say he weighs the same but doesn’t look so good. “You look good,” Obama replied. “You haven’t seen me naked,” Letterman said. Obama: “We’re going to keep it that way.”
POTUS laughed when Letterman asked he wanted to say something to the empty chair next to him.
Letterman asked about the Romney video. I don’t know what he was referring to.” “One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country.” “If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone.” ‘All of us make mistakes…What people want to know though is you’re not writing off a big chunk of the country because the way our democracy works…This is a big country.” Obama said traveling the country he never meets anyone ”who doesn’t believe in the American dream.”
Asked about the violence in Libya last week that led to the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Obama said the administration’s top priorities now are to “refortify” security at American embassies abroad and to bring the murderers to justice. He criticized the offending anti-Muslim video that triggered the violence, but he said the video was not an excuse for violence. The message we have to send,I think, to the Muslim world is, we expect you to work with us to keep our people safe. And as offensive as this video was , and obviously, we denounced it, and the united states government had nothing to do with it, that’s never an excuse for violence. And in this part of the region, as they emerge, into a new form of government, part of what they’re going to have to do is to recognize that democracy is not just casting a ballot, it’s respecting freedom of speech and tolerating people with different points of view, and it means that you’ve got to make sure that you never have any excuses for the kind of violence against innocents we saw last week, and that’s a message that I’ve sent very clearly to the leaders of various countries, and we expect their full cooperation, because that’s the only way the international order works.”
PREVIOUS, 1:21 PM: Air Force One has landed at JFK Airport, Marine One has landed near Wall Street and Barack Obama is in the car, according to the White House Pool Report. The purpose of President Obama’s visit to New York today is a double shot of fundraisers and a return visit to Late Show With David Letterman. The Letterman appearance is first on the itinerary, with Obama heading to CBS’ Ed Sullivan Theater at 54th and Broadway for a 1:40 PM PT interview with the late-night host that will air tonight. This is Obama’s seventh visit toLetterman – his second since taking office. After a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria, Obama moves on to Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club on West 25th Street for a $40,000-a-ticket dinner featuring the rap star, his wife Beyoncé and an expected 100 other supporters. The event is expected to raise around $4 million. Like previous celebrity dinners with George Clooney and others, there will a couple of guests at the event who won their place there. Obama is scheduled to speak to the gathering around 6:45 PM.
If you feel like you’ve heard this routine before, you’re right. Today’s trip is similar to his June 14th visit to the Big Apple that included a fundraiser at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house and a Mariah Carey-hosted event at the Plaza Hotel. Obama is expected to leave New York at around 8 PM tonight to head back to the White House.