If President Obama has ever acted cool in courting celebrities, on Thursday he’ll be dropping that act and heading for the mother lode.In what’s shaping up to be one of the biggest one-off fundraisers in the history of the presidency, Obama will pitch to a houseful of boosters from Hollywood’s inner circles at a sold-out event in Studio City.
And it’s not just any house – it’s George Clooney’s 7,354-square-foot crib.
With the exception of a couple supporters – namely, the winner of the Obama campaign’s “Obama, Clooney and You” sweepstakes and a plus-one – guests reportedly paid as much as $40,000 each to secure a seat. That tallies up to nearly $6 million from party goers, plus another estimated $4 million to $6 million from the contest, which gave would-be donors the chance to feast with the stars for a $3 (or more) pledge made via the president’s campaign site.
Although some celebs have dialed down their enthusiasm for Obama since the last election cycle, he still has friends in Hollywood – many of whom will be attending the dinner.
And the fundraising game has also changed significantly since Obama’s 2008 campaign, as the Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling made way for Super-PACs and supersized donations to stuff candidates’ war chests with unprecedented amounts.
As the big night approaches, here’s a look at what some of Obama’s backers in Hollywood have done for him lately.
Katzenberg is a co-sponsor of Thursday's dinner. In 2011, he gave two $2,500 donations to Barack Obama, according to OpenSecrets.org. He started early with his support for the president, donating $2,300 to Obama's campaign in March 21, 2007 and the same amount on Oct. 14, 2008. And for the big Super-PAC finish, the Hollywood heavyweight donated $2 million to the Obama-friendly Priorities USA Action on May 27, 2011.
Spahn, a top rainmaker in Hollywood's political milieu, is another organiser of Thursday's dinner. He threw in for Obama last election season with a $2,300 donation on March 21, 2007, and a pre-election booster shot of the same amount on Oct. 16, 2008. On Sept. 27, 2011, he is listed on OpenSecrets as giving two $2,500 contributions to Obama.
Weinstein, a onetime supporter of Obama's former rival-turned Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is listed as giving Obama two $2,500 donations on August 5, 2011.
Meyer had his money on Obama on Feb. 9, 2007, with a $2,300 donation, repeated again on Sept. 19, 2008. Once Obama was in office, he gave the president two $2,500 bonuses, both on April 11, 2011.
Media mogul Saban, a big figure in Democratic fundraising circles, also doubled up for Obama with two $2,500 contributions on Dec. 19, 2011.
The triple-threat director/writer/producer pitched in twice over for Obama's second trip on the campaign trail with a pair of $2,500 donations on April 26, 2011.
Lourd gave early and often to Obama, to the tune of $4,600 in 2007 and two $2,500 contributions on June 24, 2011.
Streisand lent her pipes to a fundraiser at the Beverly Wilshire in 2008 that drummed up $2.8 million for Obama, but word has it she won't go for an encore on Thursday night. Streisand also donated $2,300 to Obama on March 8, 2007.
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