With 2012 right around the corner, politicians across the country are gearing up for the upcoming election cycle. And as the race for the nation’s highest office takes off it is clear that the gloves are off.

This morning, the political blogosphere was buzzing over Michelle Obama’s fundraising appearances in Hollywood. The First Lady has been in Southern California over the past couple of days promoting her military families initiative, “Joining Forces” as well as making the rounds at events for her husband’s reelection campaign.

Last night, at an event in the wealthy Beverly Hills suburb of Westwood, the First Lady drew out some big name stars including Ellen DeGeneres and Vanessa Williams. All in all there were an estimated 350 guests at the exclusive political soiree.

Before that Michelle hosted a lunch in Pasadena, where according to the event’s coordinator Lena Kennedy, they would be able to take photos with the first lady for a fee. Joining a host of other commenter LA Weekly writer, Simone Wilson wrote of the event:

The 500 guests at her Pasadena fundraiser will reportedly spend $1,000 per plate. Then, on top of that half-million, the first lady will rake in $10,000 for every starstruck couple who wishes to take a photo next to her highness. Oh, and it gets better: Organizer Lena Kennedy tells KPCC that the big-spenders will also receive an unspecified length of “private time” with Michelle.

Last but not least, Obama will take her dinner with more campaign contributors at another $1,000-ticket fundraiser in Bel Air tonight. Oh you fancy, huh!

While most working Americans would agree that $10,000 isn’t chump change, for political beat writers to act as if the Fcharge for the First Lady’s photo line fee was inordinate doesn’t quite give the full picture. Politicians’ photo line fees are more often than not large amounts of money. In fact, Republican presidential candidate Tim Palenty hosted a fundraiser where tickets cost guests $2,500 a pop.  Earlier this spring, John Corzine caused an uproar when prices for tickets to his fundraiser to support President Obama and the Democratic National Committee went as high as $38,500.

Still, there is a difference between fundraising and throwing ridiculously expensive parties- a lesson that freshman GOPers in the house found out last month, after shelling out close to a quarter of a million dollars to rope in country singer LeAnn Rimes left them breaking close to even, bringing in only a $650 dollar profit.

From former President Bill Clinton to Sarah Palin, people will shell out the big bucks to see political figures they support. While critics may take issue with the high prices, it’s hard to fault either party for playing to their high-donor base.

After the strong fundraising effort from conservative groups in last year’s midterm elections, the Obama 2012 campaign has reportedly set a goal of $750 million dollars for the President’s reelection effort.  Many think it is likely the President’s fundraising efforts for his campaign could top a $1 billion.  As Palin supporters would say, “the big guns are coming out.”

What do you think of the cost of Michelle Obama’s photo line? Is the First lady being unfairly targeted or are the costs for these high profile political fundraisers out of control? Tell us what you think Clutchettes and gents, weigh in!

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