NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama was in New York Tuesday for two fundraisers, and he also stopped to do a little shopping in Midtown.
Obama visited the city in an effort to bolster his party’s campaign coffers — joining an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to help the Democratic National Committee climb out of a worrisome deficit.
And as WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported, Obama also made a trip to an outpost of the Gap in Midtown East, and made a political point in doing so. He came to buy some sweaters for his daughters, athletic wear for his wife and to make a pitch for the minimum wage.
Manager Franky Ramero told Silverman he was not too surprised when Secret Service agents popped into the store at 42nd Street and Third Avenue, given that the United Nations is nearby.
“I mean, we do get a lot of diplomats, so that was what we thought was happening first, and then when they approached us and told us that V.I.P. number one was coming, things changed,” he said.
Examining tops for his daughters, a clerk suggested a V-neck sweater.
“I’m worried the V-neck is going to slip,” he said, choosing instead round-necked alternatives _ a striped, gray and white number and another in coral.
“For Michelle, I have no idea what to get. Maybe we should buy some socks,” he said. He turned down a hoodie before settling on blue workout jacket for the first lady.
He also received a compliment from employee Sonya behind the register.
“He’s better looking in person,” she said.
As he paid with a credit card _ “I don’t always carry my wallet,” he confessed _ he feigned surprise at the automated transaction. “Oh, so you can sign the machine?” he asked, recalling a similar shopping moment by former President George H.W. Bush. “I’m just teasing, everybody,” he added quickly. “They had these around the last time I shopped.”
He then went on to congratulate the Gap for instituting a policy of paying entry level employees a higher minimum wage. Obama has ordered that federal contractors increase the minimum wage and has asked Congress to approve an increase from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour for all employers.
But not before offering some sound advice:
“It never hurts to bring something back when you’ve been on a road trip,” he said. “You get points when you go home.”
Obama came to New York City to raise money for the party at two events, including a high-dollar fundraiser at the home of Alan Patricof, the founder of a New York venture capital fund.
Patricof is a longtime Clinton friend and financial bundler for her Senate and presidential campaigns.
The president’s visit resulted in frozen zones throughout the city for his motorcade.
The DNC has been trying to reduce millions of dollars in debt accumulated during Obama’s re-election campaign. A second event will help the campaign arm of Senate Democrats defending their majority in the 2014 midterm elections.
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