AP: Obama Tells Celebrities They're the 'Ultimate Arbiter' of America's Direction

Does Middle America really want their country run by celebrities, a kitchen cabinet of divas and Clooneys and Snookis? That’s what was implied in an AP story by Ben Feller titled "Obama to Celebrities: 'You're the Ultimate Arbiter of Which Direction This Country Goes.'"

"President Barack Obama soaked in the support — and the campaign cash — of Manhattan's elite entertainers Thursday as his re-election team sought to fill its fundraising coffers," Feller wrote. "Speaking in a dimly lighted, art-filled room, Obama told supporters they would play a critical role in an election that would determine a vision for the nation's future.’

"You're the tie-breaker," he said. "You're the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes."

Perhaps that's what a candidate always tells the big-buck donors, that they're the "ultimate arbiters" of the nation's direction. But that doesn't sound very populist. Feller noted it was a rare joint appearance by Barack and Michelle at the home of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. "The intimate dinner banked about $2 million, with 50 people paying $40,000 each." Broderick was performing and could not attend. (Someone saved Ferris.)

Among the celebrities on hand to hear Obama's remarks were Oscar winner Meryl Streep, fashion designer Michael Kors and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who moderated a private question-and-answer session between the president and the guests. Broderick, who was starring in a Broadway musical, was absent.

The president and Mrs. Obama also headlined a second glitzy fundraiser in Manhattan Thursday night that included a performance from singer Mariah Carey and remarks by singer Alicia Keys. The 250-person dinner yielded the Obama campaign at least $2.5 million.

Feller briefly relayed that this hob-nobbing with the "ultimate arbiter" celebrities might not look good to many voters:

The strategy holds the potential for peril. It allows opponents to paint Obama as hobnobbing for dollars with middle-class angst riding high. The Republican Party lampooned Obama as tone deaf when his campaign promoted the Parker/Wintour event on the same day news broke of climbing unemployment. 

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis