A day after unflattering footage of Mitt Romney dismissing 47 percent of Americans as “victims” dependent on government support began consuming the news cycle, the embattled GOP presidential candidate and his wife swung through Dallas for a pair of fundraisers. Meanwhile, President Barack Obama spent the evening in New York being feted by Beyoncé and Jay-Z at a $42,000-a-head fundraiser that brought in $4 million for his campaign.
After arriving in Dallas on “ Hair Force One ,” Ann Romney attended a luncheon at President’s George W. Bush’s Preston Hollow home . Then the Romneys headed to a reception and dinner at the Hilton Anatole hotel, appearing alongside U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison and oil magnate T. Boone Pickens, according to WFAA’s Teresa Woodard.
At the Hilton Anatole, Romney steered clear of the topic occupying the news cycle for the last 24 hours in Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News ’s Gromer Jeffers, Jr., “Romney didn’t mention the uproar over his secretly recorded remarks, giving instead what amounted to a routine stump speech. He charged that Obama wants to ‘redistribute the wealth’ and seeks a government that intrudes in Americans’ lives.”
The events were hosted by Ray and Heather Washburne, according to Politico ’s Anna Palmer. “Texas moneyman Washburne said the event will be Romney’s last fundraiser in Dallas before the election and that they are focused on getting the last of the people sitting on the sidelines to give money,” Palmer reported, noting that Washburne helped bring in $3.5 million in June for Romney.
Filing a dispatch from Romney’s plane, New York Times ’s Michael Barbaro described the mood among those involved in the campaign as “palpably gloomy and openly frustrated.”
Grim-faced aides acknowledged that it was an unusually dark moment, made worse by the self-inflicted, seemingly avoidable nature of the wound. In low-volume, out-of-the-way conversations, a few of them are now wondering whether victory is still possible and whether they are entering McCain-Palin ticket territory.
It may prove a fleeting anxiety: national polls show the race remains close, even though Mr. Romney trails in some key swing states.
Still, a flustered adviser, describing the mood, said that the campaign was turning into a vulgar, unprintable phrase.
The mood was very different some 1,550 miles away at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club, the location for one of the president’s two fundraisers Tuesday. “I can’t tell you how proud we are to host tonight’s event with President Obama,” Beyoncé said in her introduction of the president. “We believe in his vision.”
Obama then took the mic and thanked the couple for their hospitality. “To J and B, thank you so much for your friendship. We are so grateful,” Obama said, adding that “Michelle, Sasha, and Malia are mad at me because they aren’t here.”
He took time to praise Bey: “Beyoncé couldn’t be a better role model for our daughters because she carries herself with such class and poise and has so much talent.”
Obama also effectively deployed some self deprecating humor, saying that he Jay-Z have a lot of common in that “[w]e both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are. So, you know, we’ve got a little bond there. It’s hard but it’s okay.”
The Washington Post ’s Amy Gardner had some details from the “celebrity-in-chief’s” fundraiser, which attracted around one hundred deep-pocketed Democratic donors:
The club was filled with sharply dressed women in New York-high heels and men with expensive haircuts. Glass cases lining the walls contained scores of gold baseball bats and a collection of sports jerseys. Most in the audience listened raptly, either sitting on couches that lined glass-fronted tiers looking down on the club’s bar or standing along the balcony at the top of the club. Even some of the servers, in formal white shirts and black bow-ties, stood listening as Obama spoke.
According to the New York Times ’s Mark Landler, the president did not bring up the controversy roiling the Romney campaign at either fundraiser while reporters were present. But before the fundraisers, he taped a segment with David Letterman in which he tackled them head on, saying “My expectation is, if you want to be president, you’ve got to work for everybody, not just for some. … What I think people want to make sure of is, you’re not writing off a big chunk of the country.”