Senator Obama in Austin, 2007 (by speedye).

Look, I know it costs a lot of money to mount a national presidential campaign, but this looks absolutely terrible.

The president is scheduled to speak to supporters at Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater. Although some college students got tickets for $44, most in attendance will have paid at least $1,000 for the event, which will open with music from Robert Earl Keen.

Obama will appear later at a much smaller, costlier fundraiser at a private home west of Austin before heading back to Washington tonight. According to Democrats familiar with the details of Obama’s trip, tickets to that dinner event cost more than $35,000 per person and more than $50,000 per couple, with the money split between Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

These are not prosperous times. Over 8% of Texans are unemployed, benefits for the elderly and sick, already meager in this state, are being slashed, and our schools are literally being shut down — all so yacht buyers can get a tax cut.

We’re at the mercy of the oligarchy here. Is this really the campaign message the White House wants to send to the working people in the state?

When Senator Obama visited Austin in 2007, he spoke at Auditorium Shores to a crowd of 20,000.

Tickets were free.