Election 2012

Obama Calls on Celebrity Drawing Power

Having lost much of his own magic, the president falls back on high-profile supporters

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Finally, an Obama lottery for guys like you. The latest pitch in what's become an ongoing comedy routine/fundraising strategy for the Obama campaign: a lucky draw to shoot hoops with Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving, and Alonzo Mourning. "Oh, and you'll get to meet President Obama and Michael Jordan over dinner, too," wrote Marlon Marshall, deputy national field director of Obama for America in an Aug. 7 e-mail.

Why give Melo bigger billing than the president? Obama's campaign team knows all too well that when your star power has faded a bit, there's nothing like hanging with celebrity friends. The president's dinner with George Clooney in May raised $15 million, mostly from people who weren't there. That's because, along with charging $40,000 a ticket, organizers staged a lottery that drew tens of thousands of people who contributed $3 or more for a chance to go. (Two won, including Florida resident Karen Blutcher, who told the St. Augustine Record that she met Clooney, Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, Salma Hayek, and Barbra Streisand, along with President Obama.)