Barack and Michelle Obama return to the White House on Marine One after visiting the World Trade Center site and attending two fundraising events in Manhattan (June 14, 2012)

*President Barack Obama and the First Lady attended two celeb-filled fundraisers in Manhattan Thursday night, one of which included a performance from singer Mariah Carey and remarks by singer Alicia Keys.


First up was the home of actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick. The intimate dinner banked about $2 million, with 50 people paying $40,000 each. Guests included Aretha Franklin, Solange Knowles, Chanel Iman, Oscar winner Meryl Streep, fashion designer Michael Kors and Vogue editor Anna Wintour, who served as the evening’s co-host and moderated a private question-and-answer session between the president and the guests. Broderick, who was starring in a Broadway musical, was absent.

Sarah Jessica Parker's West Village home

Parker, dressed in a navy lace cocktail dress, a jewel-studded necklace and a giant diamond ring, gave the president a hug and kiss as she introduced him to the donors in her Manhattan home.

She referred to Michelle Obama as “our radiant and extraordinary First Lady” and said the group of 50 donors had gathered “hopefully, with enormous enthusiasm.”

Obama told supporters they would play a critical role in an election that would determine a vision for the nation’s future. “You’re the tie-breaker,” he said. “You’re the ultimate arbiter of which direction this country goes.”

A pool report noted “ample” art on the walls, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a pair of marble fireplaces adorned with vases of white roses and pink peonies.

New Orleans jazz musician Trombone Shorty performed for the guests, who were seated at two long tables that spanned two rooms, with the dividing doors thrown open.

Solange Knowles (L) and model Chanel Iman leave SJP's West Village home

Aretha Franklin and William Wilkerson leave SJP's home

Franklin, who left the party after just 20 minutes, told TMZ she ate “chicken with a mustard sauce, diced tomatoes and a lot of relishes on the side of the plate.”

The meal was prepared by Michael White, owner of Marea in Manhattan. Olivia Young, his publicist tweeted: “I’m eating Marea steak in Sarah Jessica Parker’s kitchen wearing no shoes. Oh and Obama is upstairs.”

The night’s second fundraiser was held at the five-star Plaza Hotel for 250 guests, who each paid $10,000 for dinner and a performance by Mariah Carey.

Before the president arrived, Carey entertained the crowd with several songs, including “Bring It On Home,” which she wrote especially for the event. Co-host Newark Mayor Cory Booker and singer Alicia Keys addressed the crowd before Obama took the microphone to speak of the challenges the economic downturn has brought Americans.

‘The crux of this campaign is going to be about the economy,” he said.

The dinner yielded the Obama campaign at least $2.5 million. Both events raised a total of $4.5 million.

Earlier in the day, the Obamas visited Ground Zero with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

President Obama speaks to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, center, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, left

Ceremony: The President and other dignitaries signed a steel girder at the World Trade Center site

Obama wrote a note of memorial and resilience on the building which is being constructed