President Obama has promised “not to rest” until everyone has a job, and while he didn’t rest last night, he certainly took a break, spending four hours hobnobbing with wealthy Hollywood donors who had contributed $40,000 a piece to party with him.
The fundraiser, at the home of actor George Clooney, raised $15 million. The sum includes the take from a raffle in which for $3 apiece entrants had a chance to attend the event. The two lucky winners, though, were seated in the back, according to the pool report.
Nevertheless, Obama got to them, speaking briefly to the crowd and then spending time at every one of the 14 tables – ten people each – assembled in a tent on Clooney’s basketball court.
The press pooler was not impressed with the setting.
As LA/Hollywood fundraisers go, the trappings of this one didn’t put it in the top 10. While Clooney has a charming Tudor house in a verdant setting (a group favorite: the sign on a tree on the winding drive that said “Pot-bellied pig Crossing,” for Clooney’s late pet, Max), the tented setting on his b’ball court was just so-so . . . The tent had black walls that one person in the pool likened to garbage bags.
The star list was good but not overwhelming either. Among the Hollywood types at the fundraiser were DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, who co-hosted and introduced Obama, Diane Von Furstenberg, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Salma Hayek, Barbra Streisand – said by the pooler to be at a rear table and looking serious throughout in black beret – her husband James Brolin, designer Trina Turk and Billy Crystal.
But the money was good.
Valerie Jarrett, who seems to make sure she goes to all the good stuff, was in attendance, as was White House political guru David Plouffe and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney
Obama spoke warmly of Clooney as a close personal friend. He noted that the photo used in the iconic Obama “Hope” campaign poster had been taken at an event in which Clooney also appeared, and joked, to much laughter, “This is the first time that George Clooney has ever been photo-shopped out of a picture. Never happened before. Never happened before, will never happen again.”
UPDATE: Obama was mistaken, though – the photo was from another event.