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Inside the Obama fundraiser (well, part of it, anyway)

Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential fundraiser at the Minneapolis Hilton Wednesday evening presented a vexing problem to all you skinflints out there.

Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential fundraiser at the Minneapolis Hilton Wednesday evening presented a vexing problem to all you skinflints out there. If you were not willing to spend $1,000 to get into the joint, or five grand to have a pic taken with Sen. Hope, or $28,500 to have dinner with the candidate and see if Barry gets lettuce stuck between his teeth like us mere mortals, then you were SOL.

That’s some Change indeed.

Among those of us who aren’t in the Bush tax-cut bracket, there were some elected officials who got in to at least part of it for free. According to Minneapolis City Council member Ralph Remington, the Obama visit to the Hilton was split into three rooms, and three parts, depending on the cash you spent. There was a room for picture taking, and one for a 30 minute speech to about 300 onlookers, and then another room for the dinner, which included about 50 guests.

Remington made it to the speech. “I was just there as a politico,” he said Thursday afternoon.

And a supporter. After getting to the third floor and passing through a metal detector, Remington entered a conference room. Remington said the candidate approached him immediately and said it was good to see him. “I’ve been with you since Des Moines,” said Remington, who did some canvassing in Iowa.

Remington said the speech was not earth-shattering on the new developments front, but then again, Obama was preaching to the (well-heeled) choir. “He seemed a little tired,” Remington admitted, adding that Obama pointed out that children have been conceived, been born and started walking since he began the campaign. “But it was inspiring. It was energetic at the same time.”

Since he was speaking to presumably all die-hards, Remington said, Obama claimed that “outside of kids and personal life” the presidential contest “would be the most important thing in your life.”

Remington said he couldn’t get a feel for what Obama might think of Minnesota as a swing state. The campaign isn’t spending money on TV ads here. Is that an indication that Obama thinks he’s got the Land of the Loons in his back pocket?

“I don’t know, but I don’t think that matters until … well, you get a little jump with the VP pick, but I don’t think that matters until after the conventions and then after the first debate,” Remington said. “There’s no doubt in his mind that he can win Minnesota.”

At the very least, all the DFL Pooh-Bahs are backing him. Remington ticked off a list of notables that he saw in attendance: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (she introduced Obama), U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, state House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher, state Sen. Tarryl Clark, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, who was singled out by Obama for his early support.

After the speech, Remington skipped out, laughing when asked why he couldn’t cough up the dough for dinner. “For the record,” Remington said, laughing. “I have given his campaign $500.”