February 9, 2012 at 8:55 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Obama raises $1.4 million at D.C. LGBT fundraiser

An LGBT fundraiser held a private residence in D.C. on Thursday night took in more than $1.4 million for President Obama’s re-election bid.

Around 40 individuals attended the fundraiser with Obama, which took place at the home Karen Dixon and Nan Schaffer in Northwest D.C. Each attendee paid $35,800 per ticket to attend, which works out to total of $1,432,000.

A campaign official confirmed with the Washington Blade that proceeds will go to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee authorized by Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee.

Among the attendees was Secretary of Health & Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, whom Obama referred to as “a star” in his Cabinet. Supporters sat in a garden-style room at five tables that had red-and-pink-rose centerpieces, according to the White House pool report.

The president was introduced by Laura Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs and the first openly gay owner of a major-league baseball team. According to The Advocate, she’s raised more than $100,000 for Obama’s campaign.

Ricketts was quoted as saying she hosted the event “to show the president that the LGBT community stands strongly behind his reelection,” adding, “I know the president stands with us.”

In his remarks to attendees, Obama said everyone is concerned with getting the economy back on track, but pointed to the jobs reports last month that showed improving as well as the housing settlement announced on the same day of the event.

“There’s still a lot of folks hurting out there,” Obama said. “The good news is that we’re moving in the right direction.”

Obama also reiterated his call for fairness and reportedly said individuals “should be judged on the merits.”

“That’s how you should be judged — not by what you look like, not by how you worship, not by where you come from, not by who you love,” Obama said.

On LGBT issues, Obama touted his order mandating that hospitals grant visitation rights to same-sex couples and repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” The president said his work with the LGBT community is “profoundly American.”

“And what’s been striking over the course of these last three years is because we’ve rooted this work in this concept of fairness, and we haven’t gone out of our way to grab credit for it, we haven’t gone out of our way to call other folks names if they didn’t always agree with us on stuff, but we just kept plodding along — because of that, in some ways what’s been remarkable is how readily the public recognizes this is the right thing to do.” Obama said.

Obama reportedly said the perception with “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is that it would be “huge, ugly issue,” but “because we did it methodically … since it happened, nothing’s happened.” Obama pushed for legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” after the Pentagon worked on a report for 10 months detailing how open service could be implemented.

The president reportedly said “there hasn’t been any notion of erosion in unit cohesion.” Obama said when he was in Hawaii and worked out at the Marine base, at least three Marines approached him in the gym and thanked him for ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

“I didn’t even know whether or not they were gay or lesbian,” Obama was quoted as saying. “I didn’t ask. that wasn’t the point.”

Obama also alluded to more work that should be done on LGBT issues, although no remarks were made during his speech regarding marriage equality.

“We’re going to have more work to do on this issue,” said. “There’s still areas where fairness is not the rule. We’re going to have to keep on pushing.”

Joe Sudbay, deputy editor of AMERICAblog, first reported on the fundraiser. The blogger called on attendees to press Obama for an executive order barring federal contractors from anti-LGBT discrimination, an endorsement of marriage equality and help defeating anti-gay marriage amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota as well as likely referenda in Maryland and Washington State.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • Having attended one of these events they are interesting and at the one I attended I found the President forthright and open. But these events aren’t about making news they are about raising money. I do hope that when the attendees got the chance to speak one-on-one with the President during the photo op that they all asked him to both sign the Executive Order and fully “evolve” on marriage equality. This can be done while at the same time thanking him for all he has done for the LGBT community. They are there supporting his campaign for reelection because of all he has done so it is not inconsistant to ask that he do things that will continue to move the quest for full civil and human rights for our community forward. Until we have those rights we can never let up on the pressure.

  • And to think I wasn’t even invited . . . I had my $38,500 in campaign cash all rolled up in my handbag and was ready to go. Hope the meal was spectacular.

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