Essdras M. Suarez / Globe Staff
When Vice President Joe Biden wanted to meet the right people in March to set up the fundraising apparatus for his and President Obama's reelection committee, it was Jack Connors who greeted him at his 60th floor office in the John Hancock Tower and then took him down two flights for a reception he put together.
And when Obama comes to Boston in a couple weeks to ask for cash itself, it will be Connors again who welcomes him, this time at his Brookline home.
The president will leave with about $2 million from a dinner that is already sold out.
The back-to-back events highlight Connors's connection to the White House, as well as his expansion from the philanthropy and foundation work that has followed his successful career founding the advertising powerhouse Hill Holliday.
Connors has now gotten into political fundraising after a courtship begun by Obama two years before he was elected president in 2008.
First, Obama aides asked Connors to come to Washington to sit down with the then-senator. No dice, said Connors. He encouraged his caller to have Obama ring him the next time he was in Boston.
A couple months later, the aides called back, asking Connors and his wife, Eileen, to ride with Obama from Barnstable Airport to a fundraiser in Chatham. The couple agreed.
"I got in the car with him, kind of took the measure of him, and he did the same to me," Connors recalled on the telephone late last week. "By the time we got to Chatham, we were both smitten."
Connors, a millionaire many times over who is dedicated to helping those in need, said he was impressed by Obama's practice of being friendly to everyone he met, from the police officer who escorted him to the waitstaff in the hotel.
Connors has always expected the same personal courtesies from his own staff.
Connors ended up introducing Obama at three Boston fundraisers during the 2008 campaign, but he largely receded into the background after the president was elected.
His more recent focus has been raising the $120 million needed to build and endow the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate in Dorchester.
Yet as Obama and Biden gear up their reelection effort, Connors feels compelled to help. His fundraiser is generating $35,800 per couple.
"A lot of my friends who have made a bunch of money like I did are Republicans, and I'm still tied to being a Democrat, and I think the president said it right the other day: 'It’s about values,'" he said.
Connors added: "There is a lot of mean-spiritedness out there and crazy stuff about whether he was born in this country or has earned his degrees. This is a very difficult time in our country, and I think he’s level-headed.”
Despite the dinner he's hosting May 18, which will take place after Obama holds a mass fundraiser at the Cyclorama in the South End, Connors said he has no plans to extend his work beyond Massachusetts or seek some kind of reward, diplomatic or otherwise, if the president is reelected.
"You will never see me named an ambassador or to the national committee for this-and-that," he said. "I have no ambitions other than to spend time with my kids and grandkids.”
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.