What You Get at $35K Presidential Dinner - NBC Bay Area

What You Get at $35K Presidential Dinner

Stevie Wonder entertains crowd as they dine with the president



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    Stevie Wonder had his voice and a piano to make beautiful music in San Francisco Wednesday night.

    The pool report from the president's "night in the City" has lots of interesting tid bits. Josh Richman with the Bay Area Newsgroup got the job of hanging out with the president and sending out notes with any little detail he found interesting. Richman found plenty.

    The pricey dinner in the Pacific Heights home of Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff almost seems worth the $35,800 pay tag.  The evening included two stars of the music industry and lots and lots of money going into the Democratic coffers.

    The president left the Intercontinental hotel at 6:23 p.m.  He saw sparse but enthusiastic crowds along the way, who waved at the motorcade.

    Once he arrived at the Benioff estate, the POTUS was greeted by a singing Steve Wonder who debuted a new song he wrote especially for the dinner titled, "Ten Billion Hearts" about joining together to heal the world.

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    Wonder and singer Will.I.am sat at the president's table along with the host.

    In all about 60 people paid $35,800 each to attend the dinner, but not all of that money went to the president's re-election campaign. Exactly $30,800 went to the Democratic National Committee and the maximum $2,500 went the president.

    The president addressed the crowd following dinner telling them, "I know all of you wish Stevie would keep on playing." He said that "Talking Book" was the first album he ever bought with his own money at the age of 10.

    He then acknowledged he had a lot of friends in the room involved in startup business, adding "I was a startup not so very long ago. So many of you took a chance on me, and it was not at all likely I was going to win."

    His words had a campaign feel to them as he closed the night by saying that he had much more work to do.
    "The easiest thing to do is for the rich and powerful to say, 'We’ve got ours and we don’t care about the rest,' but that’s not an option. We started something in 2008." He ended with a request that he wants another term to finish it.

    The dinner ended at 7:45 p.m. and the president went to his next stop, a much cheaper fundraiser at the Masonic Center in nearby Nob Hill.

    Here's a YouTube clip of Stevie performing his news song: