Media blitz puts transwoman off Obama
Four supporters of Sen. Barack Obama got a rare chance to dine with the Democratic presidential candidate Tuesday night, with one change to the guest list.
Florida firefighter Jennifer Lasko, chosen from among thousands of small-dollar donors, declined her invitation after local media reported that she used to be a man named John.
Aides to the U.S. senator from Illinois said they weren't aware of Lasko's gender history before inviting her, but they encouraged her to attend after the news reports surfaced. Lasko decided that she did not want the attention that the dinner would attract.
"We would have loved to have her at the dinner with Sen. Obama and the other guests," said Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki. "We hope they have the opportunity to meet at another time."
The campaign invited Christina Cheatham, a rising senior at Georgia College and State University, to take Lasko's place. Cheatham entered the dinner contest with a $5 donation and was rewarded with an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, including a sightseeing tour and dinner at a steak restaurant.
She said she wanted to ask Obama about health care first, but also taxes, abortion and other topics that are important to her friends and family.
"I have a really, really long list of stuff," Cheatham said from her cell phone during a visit to the National Archives. "I'm not sure it'll all come up."
Obama arrived for the dinner shortly after 10 p.m. and joined his guests without making a formal statement to reporters. (AP)