OBAMA: The Man Comes Around, Wallets Open Sesame

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The [fundraising] event was closed to reporters, an edict efficiently enforced by the senator’s staff.

“I don’t want to put the folks raising money on the spot,” Obama said on his way into a ballroom at the Sheraton City Center Hotel, adding that he likes frank question-and-answer sessions with donors.

“It gives people a chance to look under the hood and kick the tires,” he said.

The dinner was Obama’s first big money event outside his hometown of Chicago since he announced his candidacy Saturday at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., the site of Abraham Lincoln’s famous “House Divided” speech against slavery. If he wins, Obama will be the nation’s first African American president.

The event’s hosts were Peter L. Buttenwieser, a Chestnut Hill philanthropist and one of the biggest Democratic donors in the nation, and his wife, Terry Marek.

“Once in a generation somebody comes along with a special set of qualities,” Buttenwieser said. “I’ve been around politics for a long time, and I’ve never met anybody like Sen. Obama. He has an ability to reach out and bring people together.”

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