Obama to share top fundraisers with Clinton

DEMOCRATIC nominee-in-waiting Barack Obama is sharing one his most valuable assets — his top fundraisers — with former rival Hillary Clinton to help her pay off her debt, the latest effort to heal the wounds of a bruising primary campaign.

Obama has asked his finance team to help Clinton pay back at least $10 million (€6.4m) from her failed presidential campaign, setting the stage for joint appearances by the two former rivals tomorrow.

In a teleconference with his top fundraisers, Obama asked them to do what they could to help Clinton. A campaign spokesman confirmed Obama had asked them to help the former first lady. “Some of our donors have asked and Barack said if they have the ability to raise or give money to help on debt, we encourage them to do so,” said spokesman Robert Gibbs.

Obama’s green light to his financial donors came two days before he and Clinton were scheduled to meet in Washington with some of her top fundraisers in a show of unity after their bruising primary battle. The duo plan to campaign together in New Hampshire tomorrow. Obama clinched the nomination earlier this month, while Clinton suspended her campaign and endorsed him.

The former first lady reported a $22.5 million debt at the end of May, more than half of which was a personal loan to her presidential campaign. Clinton, in a call to her top fundraisers last week, said she would concentrate on paying off money owed to vendors, not her personal loans.

Obama’s finance team has expanded since he secured the nomination earlier this month. At least 200 fundraisers attended the campaign’s national finance meeting in Chicago last week. Scores were unable to attend, one participant said.

In urging his top fundraisers to help Clinton, Obama was counting on them to seek out their pool of donors to raise the money in large increments. Donors who have not contributed to Clinton’s campaign could give up to $2,300. It remained to be seen whether Obama would make a similar appeal to his internet donors, a vast network of small-dollar contributors who helped Obama shatter fundraising records.

As of the end of May, Obama had raised more than $287 million (€184m).

What’s on Barack’s iPod?

BOB DYLAN. Yo-Yo Ma. Sheryl Crow. Jay-Z. These aren’t musical acts in a summer concert series. They’re artists featured on Barack Obama’s iPod.

“I have pretty eclectic [musical] tastes,” the Democratic presidential contender said in an interview to be published in tomorrow’s Rolling Stone.

Growing up in the 70s, Obama said, he listened to the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Earth, Wind & Fire.

Stevie Wonder is his musical hero from the era.

The Stones’ Gimme Shelter tops his favourites from the band.

Jazz legends Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker are also in the mix.

“Actually, one of my favourites during the political season is Maggie’s Farm,” Obama said of one of Dylan’s tracks. “It speaks to me as I listen to some of the political rhetoric.”

In the song, Dylan sings about trying to be himself “but everybody wants you to be just like them”.

Several musicians on Obama’s iPod support his bid for the White House, including Bruce Springsteen.

Obama said he hasn’t yet met Springsteen but the two have talked over the phone.

“Not only do I love Bruce’s music, but I just love him as a person,” said Obama.

“He is a guy who has never lost track of his roots, who knows who he is, who has never put on a front.”

And did Obama address him as the Boss?

“You’ve got to,” the presidential candidate said.

Asked what he thought of rap, Obama said the genre had broken down barriers within the music world, but he added: “I am troubled sometimes by the misogyny and materialism of a lot of rap lyrics, but I think the genius of the art form has shifted the culture and helped to desegregate music.”

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