The seats in the audience were empty, but onstage with Mr. Obama were about 120 guests seated at a dozen or so round tables, each paying $20,000 for the privilege.
The event was a fundraiser with NBA stars, and when he spoke, Mr. Obama joked that usually at these kinds of events he was the center of attention, but at this one most people there hoped to get an autograph with some of the NBA greats in attendance, including Patrick Ewing, Bill Bradley, Walt Frazier and the host of the evening, Michael Jordan.
The president went through a fairly standard litany of why he should be elected over Mitt Romney–the GOP is more extreme than ever, and wants to create an unfair playing field–but what brought the biggest cheers was when Mr. Obama started teasing beleaguered GOP Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin.
“This is individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class. But it is representative of a desire to go backwards instead of forwards and fights that we thought were settled 20 to 30 years ago,” he said.
Mr. Obama later said that he couldn’t avoid a basketball analogy, and that now the race was in the fourth quarter, and his team was up a few points. But the other side, he said “is coming on strong–and they play a little dirty.”
The Democrats, he said, had a few players in foul trouble, and a couple who were battling injuries, but when you have a late lead, he said, turning to Mr. Jordan, that’s when to put the other side away.
After the dinner, Mr. Obama escaped for a private shoot-around with some of the NBA stars–and anyone else willing to pay the price of entry.