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Democrats’ campaign fund drive begins in Harlem

By Laurie Bennett

March 30, 2011 at 8:01am

President Obama kicked of the 2012 fundraising season last night with a $30,800-a-plate dinner.

The event, held at Harlem’s popular Red Rooster restaurant, raised $1.5 million for the Democratic National Committee and gave 50 well-heeled guests some up-close time with the president.

The Red Rooster was founded by Marcus Samuelsson, chef for the Obama’s first state dinner, in 2009.

Among those on the guest list:

  • Tom A. Bernstein and his wife, Andrea. Bernstein’s business partner at Chelsea Piers, Roland W. Betts, is a close friend of George W. Bush.
  • Ralph L. Schlosstein and his wife, Jane D. Hartley. Schlosstein, domestic policy adviser to Jimmy Carter, heads the investment bank, Evercore Partners.
  • Michael Kempner, head of MWW Group, a public relations firm. Kempner was a bundler for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign and a major contributor to Obama’s inauguration. He sits on the White House Council for Community Solutions.
  • Charlie Rangel, whose relations with the White House have been strained since the president suggested he resign his congressional post after being censured last year for ethics violations.
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