Barack Obama hosts $2,000 per person fundraiser at AFT convention hotel while continuing to snub union members who first brought him to office in Illinois

CHICAGO. REGENCY HYATT HOTEL. JULY 11, 2008. At 7:00 p.m. on July 11, 2008, U.S. Senator Barack Obama was hosting a $2,000-a-plate fundraiser at Chicago's Regency Hyatt Hotel, one of the two main hotels for the national convention of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). While thousands of teachers were kept away from the event by Obama's staff and event planners, Obama posed for photographs (reportedly at $1,000 per photograph) with some of Chicago's wealthier citizens.[img=88]

Obama's fundraising event took place in the Regency Hyatt Hotel while AFT delegates were having a party one mile away at the AFT convention site at Navy Pier. The Hyatt hotels are owned by the Pritzker family of Chicago, one of the nation's wealthiest families. Chicago's Penny Pritzker currently serves as Obama's chief fundraiser.

When asked about the fundraiser, Obama's staff members told this reporter that the fundraising event cost $2,000 per plate ("If you eat...") and $1,000 for a photograph with the candidate.

At one point, an Obama staff member told this reporter that "You cannot use any photographs you've taken here..."

Secret Service and Hyatt Hotels security carefully monitored the convention hotel's parking lot until the candidate was driven away from the hotel at approximately 9:20 p.m. in a grey SUV, followed by a second vehicle exactly the same as part of a convoy of Secret Service and Chicago police vehicles.

So far, Obama has made it clear that he will not address the AFT convention in person, but via satellite, as he did the National Education Association (NEA) convention a week earlier. The AFT convention program says that Obama will be addressing the union convention by satellite on Sunday, July 13.