A Barack Obama re-election fundraiser, which took place on Thursday evening at actor George Clooney’s home in Studio City, Calif., raked in about $15 million, making it the largest one-night campaign effort ever, reports the Los Angeles Times.
The star-studded soiree took place at actor’s George Clooney’s nearly 8,000-square-foot mansion, where a tent was set up in his backyard for guests to gather. The affair was hosted by DreamWorks Animation studio head honcho Jeffrey Katzenberg and was catered by world-renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.
About 150 guests at $40,000 a pop were in attendance. Mega Tinseltown A-listers, such as Barbra Streisand and husband James Brolin; designer Diane Von Furstenberg; actors Toby McGuire, Jack Black, Salma Hayek, and Robert Downey, Jr.; and California politicos Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-Valley Village) were also present in support of our president.
Watch the lead-up to the event here:
Not every person at the event was a heavy hitter pocket-wise; the Obama campaign also held a contest for those supporters across the nation. Donations of as little as $3 gave folks the opportunity to mingle with the heavy-hitters at the event. The winners were awarded airfare to California and a ticket to hobnob at the gala.
Thousands upon thousands of contest entrants contributed an average of $23 for a chance to attend the fund-raising extravaganza. The winners of the contest Beth Topinka, a science teacher from Manalapan, N.J., and Karen Blutcher, a utility company worker from St. Augustine, Fla., also brought along their spouses.
The event just happened to have occurred one day after Obama made his controversial announcement of how he was in full support of gay marriage. It’s no secret that Hollywood is one town that has rallied around the gay marriage issue and Obama made sure to mention this in a 19-minute speech he made at the function, reports the L.A. Times:
Obviously, yesterday we made some news,” Obama said to applause. “But the truth is it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be. It grew directly out of this difference in visions. Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger? Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren’t like us — does that make us stronger? I believe it does. So that’s what’s at stake.”
The president also touched upon the problems that plagued the country when he took office and how he has tried to remedy many of them during his time in office. He made sure to punctuate how he created jobs, revived the auto industry, ended a war, and enacted a healthcare reform in his four short years as president of these United States.
President Obama even quipped about how he has aged since becoming president. “People have commented on the fact I’ve got gray hair now. There was a blog post about look how wrinkly Obama is getting. Sort of distressing. George doesn’t have to go through these things,” Obama said. Clooney then chimed in: “You look good to me!”
Meanwhile, Republicans zoomed in on the glitzy affair, saying Obama prefers to rub elbows with Hollywood’s elite and that he is out of touch with the average Joe.
“While he’s noshing with notables, courting celebrities, and soliciting stars, the middle class is being squeezed,” Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus wrote on Redstate.com, stating, “The unemployment rate has increased from 7.8 percent to 8.1 percent. Today, 23 million Americans are struggling to find work; they’re unemployed or underemployed, or they have given up looking for work altogether.”