April 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

The Obama Campaign’s California Gold Rush

Barack Obama did very well raising funds in California for his presidential primary races. The presumptive nominee of his party, he returned to the West in June to help financially fuel his presidential run. A fundraiser, held on June 24, was just the latest and most public of his campaign mining for the state’s political gold. The money taken in is earmarked for division between the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Among the celebrities in attendance: Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, actors Dennis Quaid and Samuel L. Jackson and model Cindy Crawford.

Press reports have it that Obama campaign aides reached out to Barbra Streisand, a former Hillary Clinton-backer, for help in raising money for his White House bid. The idea is for Streisand to sing at fundraising events, drawing in even more big money supporters than otherwise may attend.

And she’s not the only super-celebrity being courted to help in the money effort. Steven Spielberg, who endorsed Hillary a year ago, has reportedly agreed to hold a fundraiser for Obama later this summer. Hollywood has an abundant A-list cadre of Obama supporters that includes Jennifer Lopez who, according to some press reports, has been asked to record a song for Obama.

Laurie David, who funded Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth documentary, is scheduled to hold a fundraiser for Obama during the Democratic Party convention in August. Scarlett Johansson, who starred in the YouTube hit “Yes We Can,†and who has had an on-going e-mail exchange with Obama, is likely to continue her efforts on his behalf. Their e-mailings prompted Jay Leno to quip: “Not to be outdone, John McCain admitted he had been exchanging flirty e-mails with Angela Lansbury.â€

Obama recently met with Mayor Villaraigosa, a former Clinton supporter, who has now committed to working for Obama’s election. Also coming over from the Clinton camp are director Rob Reiner and entrepreneur Ron Burkle. A close friend of Bill Cinton’s, Burkle’s fundraising events at his Beverly Hills home brought in a lot of money for Hillary Clinton. His spokesman, Frank Quintero, said that Burkle “is happy to do whatever the (Obama) campaign asks.†With such big-ticket providers on board, Obama is soaring far past the approximate $85 million he would have otherwise received for his election bid from Federal funds.

According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Obama has already shattered fundraising records. The Illinois senator has raised, thus far, about $300 million. Jeffrey Katzenberg channeled some of that money into the Obama campaign throughout the primary season. “It is the single easiest fundraising phone call that I have ever made, ever,†said Katzenberg, the Hollywood producer who had set out to raise half a million dollars for Obama and wound up raising more than $1.7 million. “In 25 years. Literally. For charity, politics, anything. It kind of blew me away; if I made 100 phone calls, 90 of them were successes,†he said.

Given the past primary-season success of Obama’s outreach for California funds, his presidential run provides a “can you top this†challenge and implies a promise to do just that.

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