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Even Obama’s Fire Sale Didn’t Sell Out

Gail Sheehy, writing for the Daily Beast, reports from the Roosevelt Hotel:

Who would have thought that six weeks before a cliffhanger election, President Obama would have to reach down to the D list to fill a room to listen to him? Most of us low rollers arrived early to see President Obama up close and personal. Our tickets for the general reception at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York were only $100. Some thought the email invitation was a joke. Some bought tickets for $50 from their desperate Democratic committeeman. Some bought the same day.

“It’s Filene’s,” enthused Sharon Douglas, reliving her heady days as a volunteer in Obama’s 2008 campaign. The doorman beckoned conspiratorially and ushered us out one door and in through another to stand at the back of the $500 line. Their crowd came from Wall Street in car services and killer heels. Our crowd came on subways in flats and scuffed teacher’s shoes.

Only after I received four email invitations and two personal calls imploring me to come did I call Speaker Pelosi’s office to check the admission price. “You mean, to be in the room with the President of the United States is now on fire sale for $100?”

“Yup.”

“How long do we get?”

“Half hour.”

“How many $100 givers have rsvp’d?”

“Mmmm 250.”

“Do we need to line up early to get in?”

“That’s not necessary. Everybody will get in.”

And everybody did — 450 people in a room that holds 650. Even Obama’s fire sale didn’t sell out.

This is what the “enthusiasm gap” looks like when it’s translated from polling data to actual events. And it explains, in part, why the Democratic Party is going to be lacerated in the mid-term elections.



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