Thursday, February 16, 2012

Obama Passes the Hat in Hollywood

After touring a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin Wednesday morning, having been met at the airport by the state's Republican governor whom the President has weighed in on over union policy decisions (and Governor Walker is fighting a recall) Barack Obama left the crowd of the little people and jetted off to the fabulous world of Los Angeles.

Hurray for Hollywood! They like him. They really, really like him!

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.”

The two Tinseltown events — which kicked off a series of seven fundraisers for the president over the next three days — were expected to reap more than $3 million. They also could serve as a statement that Obama’s fundraising machine won’t be slowed despite industry frustration after the demise of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act.

“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.

“The events are sold out,” Spahn said of Wednesday’s concert and dinner at the home of Bradley and Colleen Bell, producers of “The Bold and the Beautiful.” “I expect the president to continue to enjoy strong support.”

Obama’s three-state trip offers another sign that his campaign is entering a new phase as he cranks his fundraising apparatus into high gear. Obama will also solicit funds in Corona Del Mar, Calif., San Francisco and Seattle. The stops are Obama’s first fundraising appearances outside Washington since he announced last week that he would embrace a super PAC dedicated to raising additional money.

Obama’s campaign has worked hard in recent months to keep his big-money Hollywood backers in the fold.

He's counting on his pals in Hollywood to help him win again. You remember all the coolness from the 2008 campaign coming from the artists and performers, don't you? And, let's face it. In Hollywood, cool is the goal.

And, oh yeah. Drivers on the Westside? Just get the hell off of the streets, o.k.?

Previous visits by Obama have caused severe traffic jams across Los Angeles, prompting outrage from frustrated motorists. The Los Angeles Police Department urged drivers to avoid major Westside streets Wednesday night and Thursday morning, when Obama is scheduled to travel to a fundraiser at the Corona Del Mar home of real estate developer Jeff Stack and his wife, Nancy. He is then scheduled to travel to San Francisco and Seattle.

Some folks in Orange County, however, were not so besotted with President Obama's visit to collect some campaign cash.

There was a mixed welcome for President Barack Obama as he kicked off his second day of campaign fund-raising along the West Coast.

Mr. Obama, who is poised to raise millions for his re-election effort this week at a series of high-end events, was greeted by protesters as his motorcade wound its way to a private residence in Corona Del Mar in Orange County, south of L.A.

The demonstrators held anti-Obama signs, including a large banner that said “Protect Religious Freedom” in a reference to the recent White House controversy over contraception.

Others spotted by a pool reporter traveling with the president hoisted signs that pointed out high gas prices or said things like “Evict Obama” or “Remove the skunk from the White House.” One home along the motorcade route had a sign staked in its manicured lawn that said, “Bye bye Obama,” while several children played in the yard.

From Orange County, President Obama continues on to San Francisco Thursday night and then Washington state on Friday.

The 1% in the Democratic Party is alive and well in California and standing behind this president as he lobs dialogue that can only be described as class warfare among the giant marble pillars and vaulted ceilings of the cool people.

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