Obama's spring collection
February 7th, 2012
08:52 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama's spring collection

New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama put New York's top fashion designers to work Tuesday night in a bid to boost his reelection.

The Obama campaign fundraiser, which coincided with a GOP caucus and primary night, wasn't your typical get-together of moneyed Democrats looking to raise funds. More than 500 paying guests showed up to shop for the Obama gear, paying anywhere from $44 for a discounted ticket to $2,500 for a chance to have dinner with the event's organizers.

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The event, held at the upscale chain store Theory and co-hosted by Vogue editor Anna Wintour and actress Scarlett Johansson, was lambasted in newspaper articles and on the web as an insensitive nod to luxury during tough economic times. In fact, there were suggestions the sale could violate campaign finance rules by selling designer label goods for a fraction of the price they would get at department stores.

The Obama campaign responded by pointing out the designers did the projects on their own time and thus did not violate campaign finance restrictions.

Earlier Tuesday, the Republican National Committee slammed Obama's campaign for holding the event, producing a web video listing off the designer goods and asserting, "With 12 million Americans struggling to find work in this weak economy, the optics of this high-end event featuring well-heeled celebrities flies in the face of President Obama's rhetoric."

Twenty-three top fashion designers put their touches on tote bags, shirts, pins and scarves Tuesday. The wares on display: $75 tote bags designed by Tory Burch and Diane Von Furstenburg, $45 t-shirts by Marc Jacobs, Beyonce, Sean John and Narciso Rodriguez, and polo shirts by Russell Simmons.

Many designers adorned their creations with their own unique take on the iconic red, white, and blue Obama logo.

Vera Wang created a tote bag with a heart-shaped design that placed an American flag under the name Obama. Wang told CNN she took part because she is "trying to be supportive of the economy that is in the middle of turning around."

Narciso Rodriguez designed a white t-shirt with blue sleeves and the Obama logo emblazoned across the chest. He took part in a similar event four years ago to support Obama.

"We need to move on to try to help Americans get back to work, anything that helps the economy everyone in fashion cares deeply," Rodriguez said.

In a press release, Johansson explained her participation by saying, "there is so much at stake in this campaign, 2012 will not be easy. We have to fight harder this time."

Susan Walsh waited in line to get inside for what would be her first fundraiser, and said she was doing it to help the president and to be around others excited about his campaign. Her friend bought two tickets for $200 each.

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Filed under: 2012 • President Obama
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Little Jimmy Truth

    Are all of clothed selling from Target store?

    February 7, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  2. NOvember 2012

    he is desperate....needs more cash....people are not funding him like they did during the original snow job. hahaha

    February 7, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. izy

    obama 2012, and scarlett johanson? wish i was there, i would be supporting my president and seeing one of the most beautiful actresses

    February 7, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  4. cali girl

    Give me a break you gop blowhards! How much are your private fundraisers? How much per plate? How much is being spent on ads to downgrade your adversery, give it up. The country could have the deficit cut with all of your ad spending.

    February 7, 2012 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  5. gt

    fool me once shame on you... fool me twice shame on me...obama who are you....

    February 7, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    And this is important for what reason? I can't figure how this deals with a serious issue. CNN has that problem with some post here.

    February 7, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  7. enuff

    Karl Rove and the GOP are just upset that they didn't think of it first.

    February 7, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. graggle

    obama is the 1%! $2,500 to eat with event organizers? are you kidding?

    February 7, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  9. Great Idea

    How many of you liberal dweebs would acuatly buy this stuff???

    February 7, 2012 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  10. George

    The GOP bashing was to be expected. They bash everything he does, good or bad. But I suggest that if Obama shouldn't raise money for his re-election during these difficult times that perhaps Romney should give away his personal earnings of $57,000 a day until the average working man can find half that to support his family for a year.

    February 8, 2012 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  11. CBR

    This is not a fundraiser that I would do but if these designers want to support the President then so be it. It is no different than the PAC money going into Republican coffers. The difference is transparency. The names of the people participating is known. The money is flowing like water into campaign coffers. Those of us who are not in those high income brackets are not giving anything but out vote. It will be interesting to see what we get in return.

    I think the Republicans are angry that they did not think of it first.If people buy these goods then more goods will be ordered. More orders means more work.

    February 8, 2012 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  12. gran

    How many GOP contributors to GOP Pacs have businesses they have taken out of the United States to avoid paying US taxes? How many have given jobs to China, Mexico, etc.? And the RNC is complaining about the economy? They can't handle the Democrats raising money through methods the GOP never thought about. Bring on November and whatever lame candidate the GOP can throw out.

    February 8, 2012 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  13. Merle Morrigan

    and I can hear the haters that are gonna hate screaming that they didn't think of it first- –

    February 8, 2012 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  14. ThinkAgain

    At least this fundraiser is out in the open, and not at the Indian Wells, California golf resort put on by the Koch brothers and where no press was allowed (it took place the last weekend in January).

    In years past, Supreme Court justices, some of the wealthiest businessmen in the country and Republican politicians (Paul Ryan, among others) have gathered at these events held twice a year. At the meetings, strategy is discussed (everything from legislative campaigns to judicial elections), and money is raised – millions upon millions that, thanks to Citizens United, never have to be revealed – from an assortment of executives from the oil, banking, manufacturing and real estate industries.

    So, big deal, the President had a fashion fundraiser, out in the open, reported by the press. The folks you should be worried about are the Koch brothers and their ilk who are plotting to buy our elections to promote their narrow and destructive agenda of turning our country into a third-world nation, with them and their cronies owning and controlling everything while the rest of us live in poverty.

    February 8, 2012 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  15. Somebody Else

    Fashion Week is held in the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, to showcase the duds for the 1% trophy wives and brats to wear. Tell me again why Tea Party is against fashion hoity toity?

    February 8, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  16. SC

    Come on, CRAZY Republicans. Don't waste your breath talking about Obama. There is no victory in sight for you and you will never win in 2012. Go study your bible and pray.

    February 8, 2012 02:43 am at 2:43 am |
  17. BJ

    Not knocking the fundraiser. All Americans need to be excited and part of the political process. Even fashion designers. But, seriously, even in this "turning around" economy the average Americans still can't afford the $75 tote bags and $45 t-shirts. We have better things to be spending that kind of money on, like bills and skyrocketing food prices.

    February 8, 2012 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  18. manhandler

    So, let me see.....Are we supposed to be outraged about this or was this just a fun thing to write?

    February 8, 2012 03:21 am at 3:21 am |
  19. Marry

    Somehow this sounds like a lot more fun than to hear about Santorum “hunting” trip were they shoot caged birds! It is always funny to see the “outrage” of the GOP/TP when the President does something people like and have a good time.

    February 8, 2012 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  20. Jerry

    How embarrassing! But, that's your "MAN" for you. the big Flip Flopper-in-Chief, now the Spring Collection-in-Chief. Is this "Man" and his worshippers that desperate for him to be reelected?

    Just asking...

    February 8, 2012 06:13 am at 6:13 am |
  21. Guess What

    spend more of the tax payers money on yourself and soon you will be selling it to pay your rent when We The People kick you out of our White House you welfare food stamp wanna be leader

    February 8, 2012 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  22. king

    Hey this community organizer really know how to allow folks to make money, other than mitten who only knows how to make money for him and himself and throw the American middle class under the bus, or on top of his car.

    February 8, 2012 06:45 am at 6:45 am |
  23. Robin

    If only as much time and effort went into developing our national budget....reelection efforts supersede national and foreign ISSUES- Iran, deficit, Syrian murders.... At least administration focused on one thing yesterday....supporting super Pacs...way to go!

    February 8, 2012 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
  24. Jasie

    and 50,000 lingerie for Michelle. this president is out of touch.

    February 8, 2012 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  25. julius raynor

    I love me some Obama.......Most talented President on my time.....And the people love him.

    February 8, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
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