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Caesars gives Obama a room upgrade since he's president now

May 27, 2009 |  1:12 am

Democrat president Barack Obama met at Las Vegas airport by Harry Reid and Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman 5-26-09

Caesars Palace gave President Obama a room upgrade Tuesday night, putting him in one of its special high-roller suites, despite the Democrat's denunciation last January of business excursions to Las Vegas on taxpayer money.

Obama revealed the upgrade to the crowd as a sign of his importance since his last visit before becoming president. "Thanks, Caesars," he said according to some at the reception. Obama spoke at a fundraiser for Democrat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who says he needs $25 million to win a fifth term next year, although he does not yet have any viable Republican opponents.

Even without a GOP opponent, the Our Country Deserves Better PAC has launched ads against Reid, whose recent poll numbers look bad for an incumbent.

With Obama, Sheryl Crow and Bette Midler on the evening's marquee, Reid expected to haul in about $2 million, giving him $5.3 million so far.

Meanwhile back at the ranch in Denver, Vice President Joe Biden brought in an unannounced sum for the Democratic National Committee. The DNC will sponsor tonight's soiree with Obama at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, where Obama might get double miles if he plays his presidential hand right.

Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Reid told an exclusive special reception, "This man is extremely smart, he can communicate, but the best part of Barack Obama is his heart is bigger than any heart in the world."

"We need to keep Harry Reid exactly where he belongs," Obama told the enthusiastic main crowd, which had paid at least $250 to attend. Those paying $29,500 got an actual presidential handshake. 

Obama, who praised his Supreme Court nominee and his own stimulus spending plans, thanked crowd members for their past support that provided the opportunity to change the country's politics.

"I think it's fair to say," Obama told the 4,000 or so attendees, "that over these past four months we've done a pretty good job of seizing the opportunity."

Exactly how the $2 million evening with President Obama represented change from Sen. Obama's $750-million presidential campaign was unclear. But the crowd applauded anyway.

To help make the trip cost not 100% political, this morning Obama will visit a battery plant and hold a town hall before leaving for L.A. and then an overnight flight back to Washington.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Top photo: Sen. Harry Reid greets President Obama at the airport. Credit: Jim Watson / AFP/Getty Bottom photo: Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.