President Attends $30,000-A-Plate Dinner Amid Many Critics

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama arrived in Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon with one mission in mind, furthering his defense of intervention in Libya.

On the day the U.S. and Britain stepped up pressure on Moammar Gadhafi, the president addressed the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

“Today we see the NATO alliance in command of the arms embargo, the no-fly zone (and) starting tomorrow, the mission to protect the Libyan people,” the president said.

It was the second time in as many days the president defended his decision to send U.S. ships and warplanes to Libya.

“When peace is threatened; when international law is undermined, we cannot stand idly by,” Obama said.

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On Monday night the president delivered a speech defending intervention, saying the United States had to intervene in Libya to prevent a humanitarian disaster. But we are now getting some picture of the cost. The pentagon said Tuesday the tab so far is more than half a billion dollars.

Boxes of ammunition and fuel were loaded on to an American warship off the coast of Libya on Tuesday, allowing a tight surveillance ring of allied ships to stay in position as they help to enforce the no-fly zone.

This as the pentagon said it has spent $550 million in the 10 days it has been involved in Libya — the cost of 192 cruise missiles,  983 flyovers — 370 of those bombing missions against Gadhafi’s military sites — plus surveillance, refueling and deployment.

In Libya, rebels fired rockets and machine guns at government troops near Gadhafi’s home town. Opposition forces lost ground and had to flee from the front lines, but they are now regrouping.

This happened as leaders from some 40 nations met in London to step up pressure on Gadhafi to quit.

“All of us must continue to increase the pressure and deepen the isolation of the Gadhafi regime,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Italy and Britain suggested they might be willing to let Gadhafi go into exile in order to achieve a quick cease fire, but the international group is still struggling to work out an end game.

In Washington a top military official told Congress the lesson of Desert Storm in Iraq is that a new government is necessary.

“I think a stalemate is not in anybody’s interest,” U.S. European Commander Adm. James Stavridis said.

The president’s remarks came as officials said they had no specific information about links between the Libyan rebels supported by the no-fly zone and terrorist groups.

“The intelligence I’m receiving at this point makes me feel that the leadership I’m seeing are responsible men and women who are struggling against Col. Gadhafi. We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential al Qaeda, Hezbollah, but at this point I don’t have detail, sufficient to say that there is a significant terrorist presence,” Adm. Stavridis said.

The president said Monday night the people of Libya deserve than the Libyan strongman.

“We continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator but to its people,” Obama said.

However, Libyan government spokesman Ibrahim Mussa was defiant in the face of Obama’s vows.

“You can’t sit in Washington or New York and decide the fate of the Libyan people,” Mussa said.

The president took time to clarify his Libya policy in an interview with CBS’ Erica Hill, reiterating Tuesday his objective is not to oust Gadhafi, but rather, “Mobilizing the world community to continue to put the squeeze on him so that at some point he makes the decision to leave.”

Obama attended a mega-fundraiser in Harlem Tuesday night — his first visit there since being elected president and his first fund raising event north of 125th street. New York was a political cash register for then-candidate Obama. He raised $42 million here to help win the presidency. On Tuesday night the haul was expected to be $1.5 million as just 50 people paid over $30,000 each to dine with the president.

WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell: $30,000 A Head!

Residents tell 1010 WINS’ John Montone that they’re excited about Obama’s visit

By the time he was done, Obama’s day carried not only echoes of his 2008 campaign, but also its frenetic schedule.

“We are very excited the President of the United States is here in Harlem and we are here to welcome him,” one resident told CBS 2’s John Metaxas on Tuesday night.

The highlight of the first African American president’s trip to Harlem was the dinner at the Red Rooster on Lenox Avenue. Security was tight as adoring crowds lined the avenue.

“To see the President of the United States come to Harlem, our first black president, I’m just happy,” Harlem resident Henry Singleton said.

There were also protests against not only the price tag of the dinner — more money than the average Harlem resident is said to earn in a year – but also against the president’s military mission in Libya.

“If you look at the direction of the country, the promises he made in the campaign, I don’t see any change whatsoever,” one man said.

“Black people did not vote for Barack Obama to bomb African nations,” City Councilman Charles Barron said.

But the trip also allowed president to show his talents at connecting with people. He took time to talk to talk with one Bronx High School of Science student about his winning science project — a bicycle made of bamboo that promises a more eco-friendly future.

“I thought he was a really personable, down to earth person. He was really easy to talk to,” senior Max Kiss said.

Would you pay $30,000 to attend an Obama fundraiser? Who would you spend that kind of money to see? Sound off in our comments section.

Comments (27)
  1. Robert Senn says:

    now he is raising money for democratt in ny cost tax payers 500000 4 fof him to go there 4$30000000 TO LIBEYA YET HE CUTS SOCIAL SECURITY BENIFITS what has he dfone for you

  2. philip says:

    The president took time to clarify his Libya policy in an interview with CBS’ Erica Hill, reiterating Tuesday his objective is not to oust Gadhafi, but rather, “Mobilizing the world community to continue to put the squeeze on him so that at some point he makes the decision to leave.”

    Whats the difference? you want him out NOW or LATER…. and then what next?

  3. Okk Chris says:

    They deliberately lured and pushed Obama into this mess. Obama should have known better. He will never recover from the political damage this useless war would cause him. Its all his fault. How can anyone follow a drug addict and drunkerd like Sakozy into waring against the good people of Libya? Sakzy has a personal vendatta and has only used the protest as a pretence to enter Libya. All you conspirators will fail.

  4. Lovebrother says:

    Barack O’Blunder signed an executive order recinding a George Bush” anti child warfare law..and now uses US Taxpayers to FUND “Soldiers” as YOUNG AS 8 year old in Chad, Senagal, The Congo and Yemen. FACT..8 year old cant volunteer.. It is tantamount to O’Blunder Slavery of children in 3 African nations and one Saudi Pennisulsa counrty. The Congo and Yemen – as I speak are using it’s military..funded by Obama. to kill its own people. I guess that paticular humantarian crisis is Obama apprioved. SICK..why would anyone support a war mongerering Child Warfare Supporting Liar like Obama. Most of the media still thinks he stands for the clown who wrote this article.. sick! Yea changing 8 year old African children into 3rd world army slaves. NICE! Is this the change our Nobel Peace Prize winning phony balony President promised. I think NOT! He should return his unearned award ASAP!

  5. basharat says:

    we feel pitty on the part of our muslim rulers who are impotant and cannot defend the interst of their people.All the wealth of their countries they have looted and deposited in the foreign banks,their kids are studying abroad so how can we expect good from them. IN this present situation we should expect even more worse treatment because of these stupid rulers who are the puppets in others hands.WE CAN ONLY PRAY FOR THE RULERS LIKE HAZRAT UMER FAROOQ ( R A )

  6. peter says:

    I feel let down by obama. I thought he would make a change of what george w bush did and he is in the same direction. I think this was a huge error to attack libya. I think that disgusting man sarkozy from france had a personal vendetta against Gadhafi, he should of had done this alone and not drag the US and other countries into this mess.

  7. ham says:

    Another war, my son is 3, before this is over he might be serving in the middle east in 15 years

    How could he start another war when we are mired in two and there aren’t enough taxes to pay for this.

    What has happened to our heroic country, and where are our heros. I am so disappointed in him, and I had voted for Obama. Don’t tell me oil has nothing to do with this. If protecting people was the reason for his decision we can attack half the countries on this planet.

    Democrats and Republicans now are all the same. Bailout, war, fast cash for the rich…all a burden for the average poor American. I am so ashamed.

    1. Cole says:

      You should not be ashamed. Protecting the Libyan people against the slaughter that they faced was not only humanitarian, it was in America’s vital interests, as the democracy movements will be a complete game changer for the Al Queda/Hezbollah type groups. 9/11 hurt us and Libya will go down in history on the right side of events. America is still the wealthiest nation on Earth and her people complain…? Do you know how bad it is elsewhere, where you don’t have 3 cars in the driveway–but zero? Come on? The world IGNORED Algeria, in the 1990’s, and the supression of their people cost an estimated 200,000 lives. Al-Queda in the Magreb began to flourish to take advantage of people and today, they are a direct threat to the US (and they are next door to Libya, hello?). I am proud of Obama, and I am quite sure, even with the price tag (small for a government that was paying off the entire Egyptian army, lol). doing the right thing will never be wrong.

      1. Musicman says:

        Really? Even after Saddam used chemical weapons on his own people, it took over a decade and many UN resolutions for America to finally rid the world of that despot. You folks on the left hung Bush out to dry for that. Bush had the backing of congress, Obama did not. The US was not threatened by Gadhafi. Saddam tried to assassinate Bush Sr. Obama has once again broken American law. The silence and hypocrisy of the left is stunning…

        Where is Code Pink????

  8. Bob Allen says:

    Who is stupid enough to pay this amount to hear him lie?? Only the rich , oil companies and corporations hoping to move into Libia and make big money.

  9. M. B. Zurich says:

    He is the first African & White American President to address Harlem his Mother
    was white, I know people forget that and he identifies with his Father.
    In any event the man I voted for here has become a Republican and I am
    saddened by his last of the fight he had when we voted for hin.
    I imagine the Congress makes the President not the campaign talk.
    The only Change we got was getting rid of Bush & Company as GWB
    left in disgrace ,he was not allowed by his own party to campaign.

    1. Musicman says:

      Nice try. Obama is no republican. Bill Clinton did the same thing when he got his arse kicked in the mid term elections. It’s all show for the purpose of getting re elected. We are not buying it. Obama has been and always will be a student of Marx. As for GWB leaving in disgrace, and was not allowed to campaign for his party, bee ess. Learn the real reasons why our economy crashed, who did what, who hid what. Your comment reeks of rhetoric. You spin well comrade…

  10. Bessygo says:

    When you drop bombs on a country it’s a war not a conflict. A billion dollars of our taxpayers money not pre approved by Congress is outrageous and i voted for you. I really think he is so idealistic his sense of reality so diminished that he actually believes what he is saying.france is there because 80% of there oil comes from Libya .Do you think for one moment the french would protect America’s interest out of an ideology. The sorti bombs,sending our fleet, and thinking with out a clear objective of removing a dictator is going to prevail is simply wrong.The atrocities happening in the Congo to women ( for years) ,Sudan, and in five major hotspots has the same moralistic belief.( Oh there is no oil there). This could be your last billion to blow Sir .

    1. cole says:

      And what would you have done, out of curiosity? Watched 500,000 get run over by Gadaffi’s tanks? Well, that might work in the short them… but think what would happen next: 1) Al queda would have a super chance to spring up—even more than they already have, as the are able to recruit easily when the rest of the world (besides them) show they care less about Arabs! 2) all the dictators of the world (not just Liyba) would be sent a green light that they can do what they want and no US authority can stop them. YOu cried the Congo, but there, we have no UN mandate, no allies willing to help, no-one in America cares (because the Congo is not a vital US interest), etc WE have allies willing to help in Libya (a number). Ex: EU countries like France are worried –not because 80% of their oil comes from Libya (it does not, I live here) but because immigration from North Africa is the NUMBER ONE hot topic in France. France doesn’t want any more Arab people pouring into its borders than it can deal with, as they are poor and don’t fit well into French hob-globbin society of Marie LePens!. Certainly that is not the only reason, but probably a bigger explanation than oil. I do agree that the Congo needs help, but getting rid of dictators (by the people empowerment) is the way to go. The French sold us weapons to fight the British… and it paid off years later. Supporting the “right” though costly, will not be wrong–ever.

      1. Musicman says:

        I would have flown a cruise missile up his arse and the let the Libyans sort it out. We owe the middle east nothing…

      2. Ann Marie Kellett says:

        The U.S. under President Obama seemed quite content to let the tanks roll over the protesters in Iran. He even got in a vacation and a few rounds of golf. Why is this any different? Wasn’t supporting the people in Iran the “right” thing to do?

  11. Dave Tubb says:

    America is not a Democracy, we are a Republic, what makes any American assume another private, soverign country we have no business getting involved with wants Democracy?

    There’s no difference if a Middle Eastern country tried to push Islam on us, invade us and try to change our government, absolutely no difference from what we’re doing to them.

    1. Musicman says:

      A “constitution based federal republic” indeed. Not a “constitutional democracy” like they teach in public indoctrination centers. Whoops, I mean schools…

  12. Dave Tubb says:

    It’s extreme arrogant assumption to assume other countries want a Democracy.

  13. Abe says:

    Mr. Obama, how do you defend this?.

    The US army’s own West point report clearly states that these “rebels” in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya are Al Qaeda and that these very same Libyan groups are fighting the US in Iraq and Pakistan. One top Libyan “rebel” was killed recently in Pakistan.

    People are too blinded by the media and govt propaganda about Gadafi, when in reality the US is using Al Qaeda fundamentalists to overthrow the much more moderate Gadafi.

    Kind of takes the sting out of the liberals “humanitarian” concerns and the choice of target for the conservatives.

  14. Mr. Nobody says:

    With AC 130 gunships and A-10’s providing close air support to rebel ground troops it’s hard to believe a word this president says. Almost every word is a lie or disingenuous. He leads to the country to war and doesn’t even explain why. Let’s face it, we are doing the heavy lifting for European nations dependent on Qaddafi’s oil. It’s all about OIL. We are going to let NATO take the lead but guess who leads NATO? Yes, the United States leads NATO. Without out us nothing get’s done. So it’s a play on words to say that we are in a supporting role of NATO. What is the price tag for your little war of appeasement Mr. Obama? You can’t bomb a country and keep your hands clean at the same time. When are you going to learn that your tight rope, fence sitting is not going to get you re-elected. You are the man now and the burden will be on your shoulders alone. Take some responsibility for your actions and a make a stand for once.

  15. Bushelfoote says:

    We are who we are….We’re The Americans….to the world….in some ways we are in the world most people’s last hope at times in their own nation’s struggles for DEMOCRACY….The revolution that brought Moammar Qaddafi to power NEVER went the next step and created something for the Libyan people…Qaddafi became a despotic dictator that ruled that nation as a Kleptocrat…..always pocketing and socking money away from improving the lives of the Libyan people…..Who apparently at this time have had ENOUGH and are in the mind to run this little revolutionary throwback to another time out on his EAR……….buh bye,dumbarse….you had your chance……..NEXT!!!!!!!!!!

    1. ham says:

      We should fix our problems at home before thumbing our noses in midget countries we have no business in. We did such a fine job in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I guess third time is the charm.

      How would you like it if the united states of Islam started bombing brooklyn and Manhattan because we don’t abide by the Quoran and our women show too much skin. Or we aren’t paying enough blood for their crack oil

  16. BigEz says:


  17. Ivee says:

    Nadler is wrong. A president does not need to seek approval from Congress if he is following a UN Security Council resolution. Nadler is either being disingenuous, or he needs to brush up on his law.

  18. nyc says:

    Only $30k ? Seems like people would pay more ! Maybe another $30k for a photo ! Is food included ?

  19. Mr. Putnam says:

    What are you kidding??

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