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Hard on the heels of the wildly successful online lotteries that allowed ordinary Obama backers to win the opportunity to dine with the chief executive and George Clooney at his Laurel Canyon pad or Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue’s Anna Wintour at the actress’ Manhattan home, the fundraisers have added a new twist to the “Dinner With Barack” series.
This time around, a suggested donation of $3 not only gives you a chance to bring a guest of your choice to dinner with Obama, but also the opportunity to “weigh in on who you think should join President Obama.” (The date and place for the dinner have yet to be determined.)
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As the Obama-Biden re-election campaign’s announcement of the competition says: “You not only have the chance to sit down for a meal with the president and a guest of your choice. You also get to help pick the president’s guest … And he’s had some pretty amazing dinner guests lately: George Clooney, Sarah Jessica Parker and, of course, President Bill Clinton. So tell us, who’s next?”
No word from the campaign on how they’ll handle requests for people like the Dalai Lama, Fidel Castro or even Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. As for celebrities, that presents another set of challenges. Would Obama — already under criticism for spending too much time with Hollywood liberals — really want to be photographed deep in conversation with Sean Penn?
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There’s also the possibility that the president’s campaign may learn a hard truth about Hollywood stars and their priorities. Five years ago, Buckingham Palace was mortified when Dame Helen Mirren declined an invitation to dine with Queen Elizabeth, who she’d recently portrayed on screen. The problem, as Mirren patiently explained to the monarch’s dumb-founded retainers, was that she was on location filming in South Dakota. Nothing, not even a royal summons, trumps a feature film’s shooting schedule.
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