Reporting Dave Bryan
HOLMBY HILLS (CBS) — President Obama returned to Southern California Wednesday to fill his campaign war chest and rub elbows with some of Hollywood’s most powerful people in two major fundraisers.
President Obama’s motorcade rolled in Holmby Hills where he kicked off a whirlwind West Coast fundraising tour consisting of at least seven events in three days.
The trip started with an outdoor reception for about 1,000 guests, where the Grammy Award winning Foo Fighters performed.
After the music ended, the president joked about his gray hair, saying that he was no longer the new kid in town.
Next up was dinner with the president, co-hosted by actor/comedian Will Ferrell. Only about 80 supporters were expected to attend at a price of $35,800 per couple with most of the funds going to the DNC.
The dinner crowd was expected to have a Hollywood flavor and some of his most generous fundraisers like, Jeffrey Katzenberg, were still bringing in the big bucks.
But there were some hurt feelings in Hollywood last month, when a top-priority anti-piracy bill was shot down by an Internet revolt, led by Google and other providers, leaving president of the Motion Picture Association of America, Christopher Dodd, fuming.
“Illegal conduct is not free speech. Illegal conduct is what it is – it’s stealing,” Dodd said.
Variety Managing Editor Ted Johnson said there is still resentment that the White House did not stand up for an industry that has been so supportive.
But Johnson said by in large Hollywood is still putting its money into the Obama campaign, as a matter of principle.
“The famous names, the stars that everyone associates with the industry and it’s politics,” he said.
After the fundraisers Wednesday, the president still had five more events planned for the next two days in California and Washington state.
Another dinner was scheduled for San Francisco Thursday, again at $35,800 a couple.