ABC and NBC on Friday both excitedly touted Barack Obama's "star-studded" celebrity fund-raisers in New York City, gushing over the "Prez in the City." Neither network wondered if $40,000 per plate dinners with millionaire celebrities might make the President seem out of touch, a charge often leveled at Republican Mitt Romney.
On Good Morning America, reporter Jon Karl enthused, "Call it Prez in the City, a star-studded, big city Obama fund-raiser at the Manhattan home of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker." "The A-list evening didn't end there," Karl added, highlighting Obama's follow-up party with Mariah Carey at the Plaza hotel.
Today co-anchor Matt Lauer offered a similar joke about Parker, hyping, "Checks in the City. President Obama attends star-studded fund-raisers in New York City..."
Correspondent Chuck Todd allowed that it "wasn't quite Bieber fever last night," but that the President is trying to "rake in as much cash as he can."
Today managed to use the phrase "star-studded" three times.
Both Today and GMA featured Romney's attack on Obama. Todd related, "This as Republican rival Mitt Romney blasted the Obama administration as the quote, 'enemy of job creation.'" He also brought up the President's "gaffe" from last week.
On ABC, GMA played a brief clip of Romney's new attack ad against Obama.
Neither network, however, focused on any potential downside to palling around with millionaire celebrities during a tough economic season.
CBS basically ignored the Obama fund-raisers, playing only brief clips about the event.
A transcript of the June 15 segment can be found below:
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Now to the race for the White House. President Obama and Mitt Romney gave dueling speeches on America's struggling economy in the battleground state of Ohio yesterday, just before the President headed to New York City for a star-studded fund-raiser. It's your voice, your vote with ABC's Jon Karl. Good morning, Jon.
JON KARL: Good morning, George. The President called on some big-name celebrities last night to give his campaign a much-needed financial boost while he and Mitt Romney clashed over how to give a boost to the economy. Call it Prez in the City, a star-studded, big city Obama fund-raiser at the Manhattan home of Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker. Aretha Franklin was there, Meryl Streep, Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Lots of deep-pocketed Democrats willing to shell out $40,000 for dinner. We spoke to the queen of soul herself.
ARETHA FRANKLIN: It was fabulous, beautifully organized and it was a garden party and a lot of beautiful people there.
KARL: And the A-list evening didn't end there. The President and the First Lady went on to an event at the Plaza Hotel where Mariah Carey provided the entertainment. Altogether last night, the Obama campaign raked in more than $4.5 million. But overnight in Chicago, Mitt Romney with less glitz and no celebrities raised $3.5 million to help pay for ads like this, his first negative ad of the general election.
BARACK OBAMA [from Romney ad]: The private sector's doing fine.
KARL: The ad, almost a direct copy of one Obama himself ran in the last campaign against John McCain.
JOHN MCCAIN: The fundamentals of our economy are strong.
KARL: In Cleveland, Thursday, the President made his biggest speech of the campaign so far. Accusing Romney of pushing tax cuts for the wealthy, at the expense of everybody else.
OBAMA: Governor Romney disagrees with my vision. His allies in Congress disagree with my vision. Neither of them will endorse any policy that adds to the wealthiest Americans to pay a nickel more in taxes.
KARL: Across the street in Cincinnati, Romney made a preemptive strike, countering the President even before he spoke.
MITT ROMNEY: President Obama is on the other side of the state and he's going to be delivering a speech on the economy. He's doing that because he hasn't delivered a recovery for the economy.
KARL: Later today, Romney launches the first big campaign swing of the general election, a bus tour that starts in New Hampshire today and then goes on to Pennsylvania and right through the battleground states of the middle west, including, George, a return trip to Ohio, perhaps the most important state in this election.