Interviews

Romney, Obama camps pushing contests in dash for cash

Will this actually help raise funds?

 

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": All right, you have only until midnight to win -- President Obama pushing a chance for supporters to meet himself and -- and former President Bill Clinton in New York next week, ads for the event boasting airfare and accommodations are on us. Governor Romney offering up a similar contest where you can dine with the Donald.

To advertising legend Jerry Della Femina, who says, get ready, these contests are just getting started.

JERRY DELLA FEMINA, CHAIRMAN & CEO, DELLA FEMINA ROTHSCHILD JEARY AND PARTNERS: It’s the beginning.

CAVUTO: Did they do this in the past?

(CROSSTALK)

DELLA FEMINA: Never, never.

Look, let’s face it. He burned Wall Street. He’s telling them he’s going to them out of business. They’re not going to give him any money. People don’t have jobs. How many of the 8 percent or 9 percent or 12 percent that’s out of work, how many of them contributed to Obama four years ago?

CAVUTO: But isn’t it just the exciting, oh, I can have a picture taken with the president and a former president? No?

DELLA FEMINA: I would pay big money not to eat with Donald Trump, but other than that...

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: But the -- I always wonder. Obviously, they need money; they need more money quadrennial event. We go through this.

But it’s like all stops and all dignity is lost.

DELLA FEMINA: They’re looking for $3. Send us $3.

It’s the presidency being treated like a bar of soap. That’s what they do. You know, buy, free, free. I’m in the advertising business. That’s how they got people to do things.

Interesting. During the recession or Depression in 1930s, movie theaters gave out a free dish every time you came to a movie, with hopes that people would then put together a collection of dishes and they would come every -- Obama, I could see an Obama dish, a free dish with every vote, whatever...

CAVUTO: Well, when were they offering...?

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Were these talking movies or...

DELLA FEMINA: Oh, yes, movie -- yes, movie theaters in the ‘30s would offer a free dish...

CAVUTO: Really?

DELLA FEMINA: Oh, every Monday night was a free dish night.

CAVUTO: A lot of people say it demeans the office, whether you have the office already or you want the office. Do you think it does or is this just a sign of our times, where, you know, the Internet and everything else, everything’s ubiquitous?

DELLA FEMINA: I think it’s sad, but it is a sign of the times.

When would a president say, come and have dinner with me, and I’ll...

(CROSSTALK)

CAVUTO: Yes, but Richard Nixon did "Laugh-In" and "Sock It to Me."

DELLA FEMINA: Yes, but that was about making fun and having fun.

CAVUTO: Right.

DELLA FEMINA: This is about send me $3. Just send me $3. That’s very sad.

And the fact is you don’t get to go to the White House because that would be against the law. So they do not take you to -- they take you to dinner, I think, at the Hilton, if I’m not mistaken.

CAVUTO: Oh, I thought it was like a Ponderosa.

DELLA FEMINA: Oh, yes, yes, yes. So you have to eat with...

CAVUTO: Chuck E. Cheese kind of deal.

DELLA FEMINA: And, besides, he’s not supposed to...

CAVUTO: Yes, but you could do -- Bill Clinton was famous or infamous for this, unfairly or not, where there would be events where people slept in the Lincoln Bedroom or they slept in this, where there was a quid pro quo factor. Many people charged that. It’s very hard to prove, though, right?

DELLA FEMINA: Yes, but it was upscale. It wasn’t asking for the average person to contribute a few dollars.

CAVUTO: Well, why is Bill Clinton even part of this?

DELLA FEMINA: I don’t know. And I don’t think Bill Clinton knows.

CAVUTO: Well, you are a great marketing guy. How would you market each of these guys? What is your best way? Because they’re everywhere. They are seen everywhere. Would you tell them, hey, limit your appearances, cool it?

DELLA FEMINA: No, I think what they’re doing right now – I’d say get -- literally, get people in and you have to find the movie star.

People would rather dine with a movie star. George Clooney would be the guy. Hey, have dinner with George Clooney. Just send him $10 and he’ll tell you to vote for our guy.

CAVUTO: So the celebrity thing works and that’s to the president’s advantage, right?

DELLA FEMINA: Well, it is, but the fact, it is sad.

It does demean the office. He’s not collecting money the way he was collecting it the first time.

CAVUTO: Yes.

DELLA FEMINA: People were just going out of their way to give him money.

CAVUTO: Well, if he’s having so many problems, though, he’s still a tight national poll race.

DELLA FEMINA: Yes, but that’s not what he expected.

CAVUTO: Right.

DELLA FEMINA: Look, he started saying he wanted to change. Now...

CAVUTO: Maybe he needs to start handing out plates.

DELLA FEMINA: Yes. He started out saying change, but now he’s looking for change. Anything. Just send me anything.

(LAUGHTER)

CAVUTO: Jerry, thank you very much -- Jerry Della Femina.

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