Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney told supporters at a swanky fundraiser in President Barack Obama’s hometown on Thursday evening that under his administration they would see an “extraordinary resurgence of America’s economy” because of the former private equity executive’s economic prescription of less taxation, regulation, and government meddling.
Tales from the Trail
Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel teamed up for the first time on Thursday night for a concert to raise money for the Democrats’ presidential campaign — and kept the Illinois senator waiting in the wings for nearly an hour as they plowed through their songbooks for a happy crowd of donors.
The marathon 3-hour show for nearly 2,000 fans at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom, where tickets started at $500 and ran to $10,000, included backup help for Springsteen and Joel from Springsteen’s wife Patti Scialfa, singers John Legend and India Arie and Joel’s band.
The two aging rockers traded songs through the night, and by the time presidential contender Barack Obama arrived for a speech that was supposed to close the concert the pair was just getting warmed up.
Springsteen sprawled across Joel’s piano for “Spirit in the Night,” calling out the chord changes to Joel as he went along. Joel played “New York State of Mind” and “Allentown” — his version, not Springsteen’s.
“The Piano Man is gonna become the Guitar Man now — anything can happen,” Springsteen said when Joel grabbed a guitar as they kicked off “Glory Days.”
Springsteen dedicated “Born to Run” to Obama before clambering up and making a closing leap from Joel’s piano — and rushing back to dramatically clean the scuff marks off it.
John Legend and India Arie were featured on the closing version of Curtis Mayfield’s “People Get Ready,” before Obama arrived to declare it “a magical evening.”
“Sorry, Bruce and Billy, but I grew up with you all. They are musical icons,” he said, as Springsteen, Joel and the other musicians huddled in the corner of the stage to listen. “They are the finest musicians of our generation,” he said. “They can tell stories about our lives that resonate in ways a speech won’t do.”
As he had all day, Obama warned the crowd against overconfidence heading into the Nov. 4 election. “Don’t underestimate the capacity of Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” he said. “Don’t underestimate our ability to screw it up.”
With that, Obama reprised his own greatest hit — his story, rarely heard these days, which ends with him leading the crowd in chants of “Fired Up! Ready to Go!”
He was then joined on stage by his wife Michelle, and the couple danced and clapped along to Springsteen and Joel’s version of the song that now closes Obama rallies — Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.”
So what does Barack Obama do after a hard day of defending the common man during the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?
Throw a $28,500-a-head fundraising dinner, of course.
Followed by a $2,500-a-head reception featuring Barbra Streisand singing a song or two.
ARLINGTON, Va. – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama likes his chances in the White House battle with Republican John McCain, telling a fundraising reception the odds of his winning are “very good.”
“Let’s face it, there weren’t too many people who thought we were going to pull this off,” Obama told a fundraiser attended by about 40 people on Monday in Arlington, Virginia, in the suburbs of Washington.
“We are now in a position where the odds of us winning are very good. But it is still going to be difficult.”
Obama said he was pleased with his trip to Europe and the Middle East — “we executed very well” — but did not expect it to give him a big bump in polls.
He said people were still evaluating his candidacy because he was a new face in national politics.
“I don’t look like any presidential candidate America has ever seen,” said Obama, the son of a black African father and white mother from Kansas who spent part of his youth in Indonesia.
“It’s not just a function of race, it’s background, experience, resume — this is new for them, and new for us as a country,” he said. He expects a close race to the end.
“We’re not going to see some huge gap develop, some huge separation develop between now and Nov. 4,” he said. “This is going to be a close election for a long time because I’m new on the national scene.