In Vegas, Obama raises cash for Senate ally Reid
Declaring “it’s good to be back in Vegas,” President Barack Obama used his political star power on Tuesday to help Senate majority leader Harry Reid fill his campaign war chest against Republican efforts to unseat the veteran lawmaker next year.
“Make sure that Harry Reid continues to be our majority leader. As long as I’m president I want him to be my majority leader,” Obama told a Las Vegas crowd who paid $2,400 per person to attend a reception at Caesars Palace with the president and Reid.
Although Reid’s control over the Senate makes him one of the most powerful men in Washington, a recent poll shows he is not that popular in his home state.
Forty-five percent of Nevada voters said in a survey last week they’d vote to kick Reid out of office and another 17 percent said they could support another candidate.
Hours after nominating Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court, Obama said he needed Reid’s help with an ambitious agenda that includes reforming the health care system and approving energy legislation to wean the United States off foreign oil.
Obama also spoke at a second event for Reid, where singers Sheryl Crow and Bette Midler entertained for ticket-holders who paid between $50 and $250 a seat.
Reid aides said they expected the evening to bring in close to $2 million, which the senator and the Nevada Democratic Party will split. Reid hopes to raise $25 million for his race, an amount which could keep many Republican challengers at bay.
Obama annoyed local leaders earlier this year when he criticized financial companies for holding lavish retreats in Las Vegas after accepting taxpayer bailout funds. But he glossed over that controversy on Tuesday night.
“It’s good to be back in Vegas. I thought I had good room, but now that I’m president they upgraded me,” he said to laughter. “They’ve been stashing away a really nice room. It’s like one of those high roller rooms. And now I have it because I’m president.”
-Photo credit: Reuters/Jason Reed (Obama and Reid hug in Las Vegas)