Obama's NYC fundraisers to raise $2.3 million

President Barack Obama smiles on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2011, while delivering his State of the Union address. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)
President Barack Obama

Would you make a brief stop in New York City to pick up $2.3 million?

So would President Obama.

On the way back to D.C. from a high-tech energy event in Holland, Michigan this afternoon, Mr. Obama will stop in Manhattan for a few hours to do two fundraising events for his re-election campaign.

They include a reception at a posh hotel and a dinner at a private residence, hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

The contributions, like the settings, are equally extravagant. Each of the 50 people attending the reception, plus an additional 15 at the dinner, are paying the legal maximum contribution of $35,800. Of that amount, the Obama campaign gets $5,000 - split between its primary and general election funds - and the Democratic National Committee gets the rest.

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On the flight out of Washington, spokesman Jay Carney was asked about the image of the president mingling with well-to-do supporters during a time of economic hardship for millions of Americans.

"Americans understand that our political system functions the way it does and that candidates have to raise money," Carney told reporters on Air Force One.

He said he certainly expects that members of Congress and the GOP presidential candidates are engaged in the same kind of fundraising activity.

Tonight's events were originally scheduled for last month, but were postponed because Mr. Obama was struggling to arrange a breakthrough in the deficit reduction and debt stalemate.

The White House says Mr. Obama won't be making remarks at the first fund-raising event - so no press coverage is allowed. He will speak at the dinner, but press coverage is restricted to a print pool reporter who shares notes with the rest of the press. No TV or radio coverage is permitted.

The events this evening bring to 40 the number of political fundraisers Mr. Obama has done this year. Of that number, 36 have been for the Obama Victory Fund, the joint fundraising vehicle used by the Obama Campaign and the DNC. At the same point in the re-election cycle, former President George W. Bush had done only 12 fundraisers, eleven of which were for the Bush-Cheney re-election drive.

As usual, taxpayers bear most of the costs of flying Mr. Obama to the fundraisers in New York. The Democratic National Committee pays a very small portion of the actual expense in flying Air Force One to New York City.

The White House refuses to disclose process by which it calculates how much the DNC must reimburse the government for the political component of presidential travel.

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    Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent.