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Just More Words: A Day In The Life

- May 10, 2012

 The Celebrity-In-Chief Fundraises With Celebrities

“Studio City Residents Are Bracing For A Glitzy, Celebrity-Packed, Traffic-Jam-Inducing Fundraiser In Their Backyard On Thursday, When George Clooney Hosts A Re-Election Bash For President Obama.” (Susan Abram, “George Clooney Hosting Obama Fundraiser At His Studio City Home Thursday,” Los Angeles Daily News, 5/8/12)

OBAMA’S WEST COAST FUNDRAISERS ARE MARKED BY BIG NAMES

The Washington Post: “President Obama’s Widely Publicized Fundraiser With Actor George Clooney Is Shaping Up To Be A Hollywood Blockbuster.” (Dan Eggen, “George Clooney Fundraiser Could Be A $12 Million Blockbuster For Obama,” The Washington Post, 5/4/12) 

  • Obama’s Clooney Fundraiser Is Expected To Bring In As Much As $12 Million, “Making It The Biggest Presidential Fundraiser In History.” “President Barack Obama's dinner with George Clooney has officially sold out, and campaign sources are telling The Hollywood Reporter that the event is expected to raise up to $12 million for the president's re-election bid, making it the biggest presidential fundraiser in U.S. history.” (Tina Daunt, “Clooney’s Obama Fundraiser Expected To Collect Record $12 Million (Exclusive),” The Hollywood Reporter, 5/3/12)
  • And “Obama Returns To Southern California In June For Another High-Dollar Fete.” “Campaign sources say the May 10 event will be the biggest in presidential election history. Obama returns to Southern California in June for another high-dollar fete, featuring a performance by Pink.” (Tina Daunt, “Clooney’s Obama Fundraiser Expected To Collect Record $12 Million (Exclusive),” The Hollywood Reporter, 5/3/12)

“Spago Impresario” Wolfgang Puck Is Catering Obama’s George Clooney Fundraiser. “When you're as famous as George Clooney, throwing a mega-fundraiser for someone as famous as the leader of the free world, you want a caterer as famous as Wolfgang Puck. TMZ has learned ... the Spago impresario has been hired to feed the 150 people who are each shelling out $40,000 to rub elbows with Obama at George Clooney's house this Thursday.” (“Wolfgang Puck To Sling Food At Clooney’s Event,” TMZ, 5/8/12) 

  • Puck Will Be Creating A “Special Menu” That Is “Going To Be A Lot Better Than The Oscars.’”  “We're told there will be a special menu -- not the standard Wolfgang catering -- and, as one source put it, ‘The food is going to be a lot better than the Oscars’-- Wolfgang caters the Governor's Ball that follows the academy awards.” (“Wolfgang Puck To Sling Food At Clooney’s Event,” TMZ, 5/8/12)

“Dave Matthews Will Warm Up The Crowd” At Obama’s Second Seattle Fundraiser. “After the high-priced brunch, Obama will attend another fundraiser at the Paramount Theatre. That event will cost $1,000 for general admission, or $5,000 for a photo reception with the president. Jam band leader Dave Matthews will warm up the crowd.” (Jim Brunner, “Seattle Developer Blume To Host Obama At High-Priced Fundraiser,” The Seattle Times, 5/8/12)

And Tonight Isn’t Obama’s First Brush With Hollywood

Obama Pitched A Movie Idea To Harvey Weinstein. “Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein says he recently got a pitch from his pal in the White House, President Barack Obama. ‘The president sent me a book the other day and said, ‘Why don't you make this into a movie?’ Weinstein told British newspaper The Times in an interview published last week.” (Caitlin McDevitt, “Obama Sends Movie Tips to Harvey Weinstein,” Politico’s “Click,” 3/6/12)

  • Weinstein: “I Sent Him An E-Mail Back Saying He Was The Most Overqualified Book Scout I've Ever Had.” “‘I can't tell you [the title, but] it was a spy novel. I sent him an e-mail back saying he was the most overqualified book scout I've ever had.’ Weinstein, a big supporter of the president, has been actively involved in fundraising for his re-election campaign.” (Caitlin McDevitt, “Obama Sends Movie Tips to Harvey Weinstein,” Politico’s “Click,” 3/6/12)

Davis Guggenheim Directed A Documentary On Obama’s First Term. “On a conference call Wednesday, top officials with the Obama campaign announced that they would be releasing a 17-minute documentary on the president's first term in office. The film was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the man who put together Al Gore's much acclaimed ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’” (Sam Stein, “Obama Campaign To Release 17-Minute, Guggenheim-Directed Documentary On His First Term,” The Huffington Post, 3/7/12)

  • “It Pays To Have Friends In The Movie Business.”  (Sam Stein, “Obama Campaign To Release 17-Minute, Guggenheim-Directed Documentary On His First Term,” The Huffington Post, 3/7/12)
  • Obama’s Documentary Is Narrated By Tom Hanks. “An upcoming documentary released by President Barack Obama's re-election campaign seeks to portray the president as a determined figure who took on a series of difficult challenges during his first term. Obama's campaign has released a trailer to ‘The Road We've Traveled,’ narrated by actor Tom Hanks.” (Ken Thomas, “Obama Film Portrays Determined President,” The Associated Press, 3/8/12)

Obama Hosted An “Alice In Wonderland” Costume Ball Featuring Johnny Depp And Director Tim Burton, But Kept It Secret From The Public Fearing “Political Backlash.” “A White House ‘Alice in Wonderland’ costume ball — put on by Johnny Depp and Hollywood director Tim Burton — proved to be a Mad-as-a-Hatter idea that was never made public for fear of a political backlash during hard economic times, according to a new tell-all.” (Michael Gartland and Cynthia Fagen, “White House Threw Secret ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Bash During Recession,” New York Post, 1/8/12)

  • “It Was So Over The Top That ‘Star Wars’ Creator George Lucas Sent The Original Chewbacca To Mingle With Invited Guests.” (Michael Gartland and Cynthia Fagen, “White House Threw Secret ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Bash During Recession,” New York Post, 1/8/12)
  • Hollywood Director Tim Burton Turned The State Dining Room Into “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.” “Unbeknownst to reporters, the State Dining Room had also been transformed into a secretive White House Wonderland. Tim Burton decorated it ‘in his signature creepy-comic style. His film version was about to be released, and he had turned the room into the Mad Hatter’s tea party, with a long table set with antique-looking linens, enormous stuffed animals in chairs, and tiered serving plates with treats like bone-shaped meringue cookies,’ reports the book, which The Post purchased at a Manhattan bookstore.” (Michael Gartland and Cynthia Fagen, “White House Threw Secret ‘Alice In Wonderland’ Bash During Recession,” New York Post, 1/8/12)

OBAMA NEEDS HOLLYWOOD MONEY IN 2012

Obama To Hollywood Supporters: “I’m Going To Need You. You’re Going To Carry This Thing Like You Did In 2008.” “When President Obama arrived Wednesday evening in Hollywood for a pair of fundraisers, 1,000 supporters greeted him at the home of a soap opera producer. Foo Fighters jammed a live set. Actor George Clooney was among the 80 guests who joined the president for a $35,800-a-plate dinner. If Obama is suffering any lingering Hollywood blowback after his administration failed to get behind a pair of high-profile Internet piracy bills championed by the entertainment industry, it wasn’t apparent. ‘I’m going to need you,’ Obama told the larger crowd. ‘You’re going to carry this thing like you did in 2008.’” (David Nakamura, “Obama Rallies Hollywood Supporters On Fundraising Trip,” The Washington Post, 2/15/12)

  • “’Anything We Can Do To Help,’ Said Andy Spahn, A Political Consultant To Dreamworks Chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, One Of Obama’s Top Campaign Bundlers And Staunchest Hollywood Supporters.” (David Nakamura, “Obama Rallies Hollywood Supporters On Fundraising Trip,” The Washington Post,2/15/12)

Obama Is “Getting An Especially Warm Embrace From Hollywood And The Broader Entertainment Industry.” “The influx during the first quarter of the year shows the president is getting an especially warm embrace from Hollywood and the broader entertainment industry, partly making up for a drop in support from Wall Street after Democrats passed broad new regulations for the financial sector, according to a list of fundraisers released by the campaign on Friday.” (T.W. Farnam, “Big Money In A Big Way For Obama’s Reelection Campaign,” The Washington Post, 4/21/12)

Obama Has “Worked Hard In Recent Months To Keep His Big-Money Hollywood Backers In The Fold.” “Obama’s campaign has worked hard in recent months to keep his big-money Hollywood backers in the fold. Even before last month’s debate over Internet piracy bills, some Hollywood power brokers were reportedly feeling neglected by the administration.” (David Nakamura, “Obama Eager To Sooth Hollywood Supporters On Fundraising Trip,” The Washington Post, 2/14/12)

  • Obama Is “Relying On A Small Handful Of Well-Connected Hollywood Players And New York Players” And “Forbes 400 Rich List Members” To Finance His Campaign. “As well as the Forbes 400 rich list members fundraising for Obama, the president is relying on a small handful of well-connected Hollywood and New York players including Oscar-winning producer Harvey Weinstein, Vogue editor and Forbes Power Woman Anna Wintour and Dreamworks honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg. Between the three, they’ve collected at least $1.5 million from their super-rich networks, with months left to go in the 2012 campaign.” (Claire O’Connor, “As Romney Donors Pick Up Pace, Meet Obama’s Biggest Billionaire Fundraisers,” Forbes, 3/28/12)

Many Of Obama’s Top Fundraisers Are “Leading Figures From Hollywood And The Media.” “The Obama campaign provided additional details about its $222 million fundraising haul Tuesday, revealing that many of the president's top fundraisers were leading figures in Hollywood and the media.” (Justin Sink, “Top Obama Fundraisers Come From Hollywood, Media,” The Hill’s “Blog Briefing Room,” 1/31/12)

  • Obama Has Raked In More Than $6.9 Million From 30 Bundlers Who Work In The Entertainment Industry(Center For Responsive Politics, Accessed 5/9/12)  
  • Hollywood Donors Contributed $7.1 Million To The Obama Campaign And DNC Through The End Of March. “Entertainment industry donors contributed about $7.1 million to the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the end of March, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. That is 65% more than they gave then-Sen. Obama at a comparable point in the 2008 campaign.” (Erica Orden and Peter Nicholas, “Hollywood Returning To Obama Fold,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/30/12)

But Voters Are Catching On

Too Many High Fashion Celebrity Events Make Obama Seem “Out Of Touch” With The American People. “The downside risk for President Obama is that too many high fashion celebrity events like this one could make the president seem out of touch in an election season where the top issues are jobs and a struggling economy.” (Byron Tau, “Scarlett Johansson, Anna Wintour Pitch In For Obama,” Politico, 1/20/12)

  • “The First Couple Seems Only Too Eager To Rub Shoulders With The New York Fashion, Media And Big-Money Sets.”  “While the first couple seems only too eager to rub shoulders with the New York fashion, media and big-money sets, D.C. socialites are feeling snubbed, short-changed and officially dissed. There used to be complaints about White House red tape — now they’re complaining about the White House red rope.” (Susan Watters, “Obamas’ Social Style Has D.C. Grumbling,” WWD10/18/10)
  • “Obama Has Leaned Heavily On Hollywood Both In His First Presidential Run And During His Reelection Bid.” (Maeve Reston and James Oliphant, “Obama To Make Fund-Raising Stop In Hollywood,” Los Angeles Times8/31/11)

WHILE OBAMA PARTIES WITH CELEBRITIES, THE MIDDLE CLASS REMAINS SQUEEZED BY THE ECONOMY

Since Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 7.8 Percent To 8.1 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 5/9/12)

  • “Unemployment Has Exceeded 8 Percent Since February 2009, The Longest Such Stretch Since Monthly Records Began In 1948.” (Shobhana Chandra, “Payrolls In U.S. Rose 115,000 In April; Jobless Rate At 8.1%,” Bloomberg, 5/4/12)

“Long-Term Unemployment Has Devastated The Ranks Of The Middle Class.” “Long-term unemployment has devastated the ranks of the middle class, with many people losing their homes and forced to turn to food banks and government aid after they run through their savings. It takes nearly 41 weeks, on average, for the jobless to find new work. Also, the steep decline in home values has hurt many in the middle class.” (Tami Luhby, “Middle Class Dropouts,” CNN Money, 1/11/12)

Obama Has Failed To Produce The Middle Class Jobs He Campaigned On Creating. “Barack Obama campaigned four years ago assailing President George W. Bush for wage losses suffered by the middle class. More than three years into Obama’s own presidency, those declines have only deepened. The rebound from the worst recession since the 1930s has generated relatively few of the moderately skilled jobs that once supported the middle class, tightening the financial squeeze on many Americans, even those who are employed.” (Mike Dorning, “Obama Fails To Stem Middle-Class Slide He Blamed On Bush,” Bloomberg, 4/30/12)

  • Only 19 Percent Of Voters Believe Obama’s Policies Favor The Middle Class. “Just 19 percent of registered voters believe the president’s policies favor the middle class, compared with 25 percent who say they benefit the rich, according to a CBS-New York Times poll conducted Feb. 8-13.” (Mike Dorning, “Obama Fails To Stem Middle-Class Slide He Blamed On Bush,” Bloomberg, 4/30/12)

“More Than Half Of All The Jobs Created During The Past Six Months Have Been In Low-Paying Industries Such As Retail And Temporary Help, Joseph Brusuelas, Senior Economist At Bloomberg LP, Noted On Thursday.” (Mark Gongloff and Bonnie Kavoussi, “Job Market Recovery Led By Low-Wage Sectors,” The Huffington Post, 4/5/12)

  • “The Jobs Are Lousy, And There Aren't Enough Of Them.” “The job market these days is sort of like that old Catskills joke: The food is terrible, and the portions are so small. The jobs are lousy, and there aren't enough of them.” (Mark Gongloff and Bonnie Kavoussi, “Job Market Recovery Led By Low-Wage Sectors,” The Huffington Post, 4/5/12)

The Middle Class Is Shrinking And Millions Of Families Are Hurting. “The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.” (Hope Yen, “Census Shows 1 In 2 People Are Poor Or Low-Income,” The Associated Press, 12/15/11)

  • “Many Of The 'New Poor' Are The Former Middle Class.” “‘Many of the 'new poor' are the former middle class,’ broadcaster Tavis Smiley, who requested the study, said in a statement.” (Mary Wisniewski, “Poverty To Keep Rising Due To Slow Recovery: Study,” Reuters, 1/11/12)

97.3 Million Americans Now Qualify As Low-Income And Another 49.1 Million Are In Poverty; 48 Percent Of The Population. “About 97.3 million Americans fall into a low-income category, commonly defined as those earning between 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level, based on a new supplemental measure by the Census Bureau that is designed to provide a fuller picture of poverty. Together with the 49.1 million who fall below the poverty line and are counted as poor, they number 146.4 million, or 48 percent of the U.S. population. That's up by 4 million from 2009, the earliest numbers for the newly developed poverty measure.” (Hope Yen, “Census Shows 1 In 2 People Are Poor Or Low-Income,” The Associated Press, 12/15/11)


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