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Obama coming to Chicago Wednesday to raise cash through concert, parties

President Barack Obamspeaks after taking stage for his 50th birthday party/fundraiser August 3 2011 AragBallroom. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

President Barack Obama speaks after taking the stage for his 50th birthday party/fundraiser August 3, 2011 at the Aragon Ballroom. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 12, 2012 8:13AM



President Barack Obama comes home to Chicago Wednesday to raise millions of dollars for his re-election effort.

He’ll be joined by his recently released chief of staff Bill Daley.

The president starts with a concert and rally Wednesday afternoon at the UIC Forum featuring R&B/Soul singer Janelle Monae. CSI NY Star Hill Harper will also be here to rev up the crowd of more than 500. Tickets range from $44 to $1,000 for seating in the VIP section.

Next is a more exclusive fund-raiser at the Lakeview home of Newsweb founder Fred Eychaner, a major donor to Democratic organizations, campaigns and “SuperPacs,” the third-party groups funding opposition ads. Tickets to that event are $35,800 per couple. About 60 people are expected.

About two years ago, Michelle Obama headlined a fund-raiser at Eychaner’s house following an anniversary date with her husband at Spiaggia.

“Happy anniversary!” a supporter shouted.

“Thank you! We had a good date, too,” Obama said with a smile as the crowd began to cheer. “We did, yeah. ... Enough said.”

The night’s final event is a reception for about 100 people at the Hyde Park home of Evonne and Stuart Taylor, managing partner of The Taylor Group, a private equity firm.

Donors are being asked for at least $7,500 with $20,000 for a host reception for a couple. Bundlers — people who tap their personal networks to get others to write checks — can get in if they raise at least $30,000.

Obama pals Cheryl and Eric Whitaker are on the host committee for that event. along with attorney Jesse Ruiz, vice president of the Chicago Board of Education, and others.

A new fund-raising enterprise, the “Chicago Leadership Circle” will allow high-roller donors access to policy makers and political operatives coming through town for a flat fee of $5,000 or monthly payments of $1,000. Most of the briefings will be at Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building. Illinois Finance co-chairs, Vicki Heyman, John Rogers and Neil Bluhm created the fund.

Folks who join the “CLC” get free VIP seats at the UIC rally. Last week, “CLCers” watched the Iowa caucus returns from Obama headquarters. A breakfast with Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also in the works.

Obama flies back to Washington Wednesday night.



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