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Sunday, May 29, 2011

President Obama will make appearances at two NYC fundraisers following controversial Israel speech

Will President Obama's next big-ticket fund-raising effort in New York be a dinner for bucks - or schmucks?

Political insiders are watchng carefully to see how the President will fare when he returns to New York for two events on June 23 - the first time since his controversial speech in which he urged Israel to give back land it has occupied since 1967 to the Palestinians.

"Everyone's going to be watching closely to see what the response is," says one political source. "They better pack the place."

The first event is an exclusive $35,800-a-ticket dinner at Chef Daniel Boulud's four-star restaurant Daniel on E. 65th St.

The Wall Street-heavy host committee, which is still in formation, includes Avenue Capital Group hedge-fund CEO Marc Lasry; Taconic Capital co-founder Frank Brosens, who, following the 2008 crash, was briefly the front-runner to head the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program; Pfizer Executive VP of global communications Sally Susman; Boston Provident partner Orin Kramer; Centerbridge Partners founder Mark Gallogly, who's also a member of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board; The Observatory Group's Jane Hartley; Rizvi Traverse Chief Investment Officer Suhail Rizvi, and Quadrangle Group's Joshua Steiner.

Obama's keynote speech on the Mideast, which he gave earlier this month, did not go down well with past and present New York pols, including former Mayor Ed Koch and Brooklyn Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has a large Jewish constituency. According to Reuters, exit polls from the 2008 election showed that 78% of Jewish voters chose Obama over his rival, John McCain.

The $35,800 question is how many deep-pocketed donors has Obama alienated. "People are concerned and frustrated," the source says. "But they're not walking away from him."

Meanwhile, a recent post indicated that Obama's reelection team has been surprised by support from gay donors. So, organizers shouldn't have trouble packing the massive Sheraton hotel for a second fund-raiser that the President is slated to attend that's geared toward the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender crowd.

Tickets for the soiree range from $1,250 for an individual to $35,800 per couple for a spot on the "Chair committee. "How I Met Your Mother" star Neil Patrick Harris will host, and the invitation promises a "Special" musical guest.

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