A confident Barack Obama strolled into Brooklyn Heights on Tuesday night and promptly declared the Hillary Clinton stronghold “Obama territory.”
Clinton far outpaced Obama in the fundraising race in the Borough of Kings, hauling in $423,740 in Brooklyn last quarter, in contrast to his $220,456 — and Brooklyn Heights, as The Brooklyn Paper reported last week, is especially Hill Country, raising $61,360 for Clinton compared to Obama’s $38,724.
But that didn’t stop the junior senator from Illinois from hitting up the locals for cash.
“Every place is Obama territory,” he said with a rakish smile before ascending into a Columbia Heights brownstone for the “$1,000 minimum contribution” fundraiser.
Organizers of the big-ticket house party — believed to be Obama’s first in Brooklyn — tried to keep the event hush-hush. But it was clear that something unusual was afoot at Nina Collins’s Columbia Heights mansion.
By 7 pm, Town Cars began pulling up to the three-story brownstone, spilling out expensive-looking men and women — a surprisingly high number of them alone and enamored of Obama.
“He’s my TV boyfriend,” said a Brooklyn Heights resident, who gave only the name Daphne.
“You know that movie, ‘Jerry McGuire,’ when Renee Zellweger’s character says, ‘You had me at hello?’” asked Daphne. “Well, he had me at the 2004 convention. … I think he is the best chance this country has had to pull itself out of this hell it has fallen into. This is the first time in my adult life I thought there was a chance to be proud of being American again.”
There were also some entertainment moguls, like Deborah Pointer, the co-founder of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, who joined about 50 paying customers at the fundraiser.
“I like his honesty and his vision for change,” she said.
In her wake, two more well-heeled Obama devotees arrived in a a black Maybach (which retails for a cool $330,000).
As the big donors trickled in, Columbia Heights filled with onlookers, including Hugh McMahon, a master pumpkin carver who once designed a “Hillary pumpkin” for a reception and was contemplating what sort of pumpkin he’s use for Obama.
“Obama has a very long, lean face, so a nice, tall pumpkin would be good for him,” said McMahon, who admitted that he’s leaning toward Hillary because “she has more experience.”
Perhaps, but Obama has one vital credential that Clinton does not: he actually lived in Brooklyn.
Tuesday’s fundraiser was apparently Obama’s first visit to the Heights since he moved to the borough after graduating from Columbia University in 1983.
“I did [live in Park Slope] and a little in Brooklyn Heights,” said Obama, strolling down the street from the direction of the Promenade, an entourage of security and staff in tow.
“I don’t remember the exact address,” he added, referring to his Park Slope home, where he is believed to have lived for about a year-and-a-half. “Then, I subletted for about three months in Brooklyn Heights, near the Promenade. On Sunday mornings, there was a bagel shop near the subway station, and I would go there and pick up a coffee and New York Times.”
Obama would then eat breakfast on the Promenade, according to an NYPD intelligence officer who accompanied him along the waterfront walk and listened to his reminiscences. Apparently, he also liked to jog there.
“He said the last time he was on the Promenade, he could see the Twin Towers,” she said.