Tuesday afternoon we picked up an odd tweet. CBS News’ Mark Knoller tweeted that the Obama campaign had banned all cameras and mics from a pair of Obama fundraisers, restricting the media to pad and pen.
The media did not raise objections to the policy, which technologically pushed them back a couple hundred years.
It turns out that the Obama campaign may have laid down the ban to keep images of its lavish party off the Internet. The New York Post reports that the party decorations did away with patriotic notes in favor of a giant champagne tower.
Nix the flags and the podium. Cue the opulent 18-foot tower of gold-bottled French champagne.
When President Obama addresses an elite roster of hipsters and multimillionaires, including hosts Beyoncé and Jay-Z, in New York tonight, he will do so next to a custom-designed tower of $800-per-bottle champagne that dominates the main room at Jay-Z’s 40/40 nightclub.
The 350-bottle champagne tower — designed by Jeffrey Beers — is a monument to Jay-Z’s favorite bubbly, Armand de Brignac, which is known colloquially by rappers, clubgoers and connoisseurs as Ace of Spades because of its gold-spade label.
“It’s floor-to-ceiling gold bottles in the entire space. It’s beautiful — breathtaking,” a rep for the Flatiron District hot spot told The Post. “It’s the first thing you see when you walk in.”
It’s also incredibly expensive. That tower alone cost $280,000 — more than the value of most Americans’ homes. At a time when 23 million Americans are unemployed and 47 million are on food stamps, the image of the president speaking next to a tower of champagne that cost $280,000 is not one that is likely to endear the president to the large segment of America that has been hurt in recent years.
Those media who attended the fundraiser evidently abided by the Obama campaign’s restrictions. No pictures or video of the tower have surfaced. The restrictions on cameras was probably not difficult to defeat. Most smartphones today have high resolution cameras built in. Taking a snap of the tower would have taken about five seconds or less. But there are no pictures.
The president, who in a tweet today claims to be “fighting for all Americans,” raised $6 million at the two fundraisers. Supporters paid as much as $40,000 apiece to attend.