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Sympathy for 'the Devil': Anna Wintour 'an Engaged Politico and Valuable Asset' to Obama

The Times went full Hollywood on the front of Sunday Styles. Jeremy Peters, a political-media reporter for the paper, profiled the imperious fashionista Anna Wintour as "an engaged politico and valuable asset to President Obama and his re-election effort." Wintour, the inspiration for the book and movie The Devil Wears Prada, raised her profile when she released a much-mocked fund-raising video invite on behalf of Barack Obama: "Power Is Always in Vogue." (Because Wintour edits Vogue magazine, get it?)

When Anna Wintour was in Paris for Fashion Week in March, there was one topic the Vogue editor couldn’t stop talking about. And it had nothing to do with the winter collections.

Who was going to win the French presidential election in a few weeks, she wondered aloud to several seat mates in the front row.

Catch Ms. Wintour in New York today, and you might just get an earful about the crucial swing states for President Obama or the pitiful Spanish and Greek economies.

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For those who know Ms. Wintour only as the icy, inscrutable character obsessed over in the tabloids and satirized on film, it can be impossible to separate her from the fashion runways she terrorizes from behind those dark sunglasses. But she has emerged as something more: an engaged politico and valuable asset to President Obama and his re-election effort.

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“I can tell you she is incredibly concerned about where this country is going,” Mr. Weinstein said. Friends have described her as a staunch Democrat, a bit of a leftie, as one put it. The devil reads Pravda?

She donated to Senator John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004 and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s senatorial efforts. But her political involvement has also aided more provincial concerns. She has put money and time into helping state legislators in New York who voted to legalize same-sex marriage. And in the 1990s she was instrumental in mobilizing the fashion industry’s campaign to fight AIDS.

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Inside the White House, the glamour factor has been the source of much strain and complication, weighing on decisions as seemingly inconsequential as choosing an interior designer to redecorate the private residence and picking the right pair of sneakers for Mrs. Obama to wear to a food bank. The Obamas tried to be exceedingly cautious out of a fear that they would be punished, particular in the conservative media, for being too chic, too out of touch.

Anna Wintour is valuable enough that Obama will stand up in the face of the right-wing proles at Fox News or the blog Red State.

The Obama campaign is clearly skittish about having too much attention on this aspect of their fund-raising apparatus. When The New York Times attempted to interview Ms. Wintour and Ms. Parker for this article, their publicists sent their regrets. The campaign is nervous, they said.

But Mr. Obama’s team proceeds with these high star-power events anyway, betting that the benefits of the five-figure checks they produce far outweigh any blow-back they might hear on Fox News or read in Red State. Of all the issues that are likely to shape the outcome of a presidential election, celebrity-studded fund-raisers are not among them, the president’s advisers believe. And for good measure, they are always quick to note Mitt Romney’s recent fund-raising gambit: “Dine With the Donald,” a contest in which people who donate $3 to Mr. Romney’s campaign can win a dinner with Donald Trump.