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11 May, 2012 14:30

Obama cashing in on Clooney

President Obama will have plenty of extra cash after the largest single fundraiser in presidential election history.

An exclusive party at actor George Clooney’s house is expected to raise $15 million and is just part of what will be a record spending election year. But while a few major donors spend millions to influence politicians, it is those without the cash, who are feeling the pain of our current political and economic policies.Large crowds gather every week at a South Los Angeles food pantry. Hungry neighbors of all ages have to take a number and line up for their chance to get free food.“Last night I had chicken soup from food I got from another food bank, so tonight I’m probably going to have the same thing, homemade chicken soup again,” said Eric Davis, a disabled Los Angeles resident.After having a stroke and becoming disabled, Davis lost his job and has relied on the food bank. While Davis and other needy families in Los Angeles struggle to feed themselves, a short drive away actor George Clooney will be throwing one of the priciest dinner parties Los Angeles has seen in hopes of raising $15 million dollars for the Obama campaign.Some of Southern California’s wealthiest donors will pay $40,000 each to rub elbows with President Obama. They will also get to enjoy gourmet food prepared by world renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck.“They’re going to have steak and lobster while we’re out here having soup,” said Davis.He believes politicians and big donors have misplaced priorities.The extravagance of this year’s presidential campaign is a stark contrast to the austerity millions of hungry Americans experience every day.According to the Los Angeles Food Bank, it can provide four meals for every $1 donation. A $15 million donation would help provide 60 million meals. Food is much needed in a city where hundreds of thousands are hungry and thousands of others are living on streets.“This isn’t just a meal, this is a life changer,” said Ivan Klassen from the Los Angeles Mission.The Los Angeles Mission serves the city’s homeless. Demand for its services has shot up, but donations have dropped, forcing lay-offs and cuts. The non-profit group, which operates a kitchen in Skid Row, calculates it costs about $2 to serve each meal. For $15 million dollars, you could take 7.5 million people off the street, put a warm meal in their stomach and perhaps even set them on the path to recovery from addictions.“There’s obviously the ugly side to it, but we’re here to help. We’re here to bring hope,” said Klassen.Hope is what President Obama promised four years ago, but when you look at his campaign and at Mitt Romney’s, nothing has changed when it comes to massive campaign spending.Romney’s camp hopes to raise $800 million dollars by November. Back in 2008, Obama raised $730 million and his total spending during this campaign is expected to approach $1 billion. Super PAC’s have already spent nearly $100 million in this election cycle. “There are two types of power in the world, organized money and organized people. They have the organized money, which means we have to have the organized people,” said Warren Fletcher, president of United Teachers LA.While thousands of teachers face layoff notices again in California, some of the nation’s largest corporations are still asking for favors and finding every loophole to avoid taxes.“We want our legislators to know that though we may be small, we’re big in numbers,” said Arlene Inoye, a Los Angeles school employee.Budget cuts have forced California fire departments to go without communication equipment, hurting response time. Meanwhile, wealthy donors are sipping on the finest wines and whispering in the candidate’s ears.“Obama and the rest of those politicians need to step up to the plate and realize that there are people who are hungry out here,” said Davis.2012 will be a record election year with nearly $2 billion dollars expected to be raised.The huge numbers are unthinkable to Americans, who are constantly told of the need for the nation to tighten its belt.