George Clooney fundraiser `could become $12m blockbuster for Obama`

Washington: Barack Obama’s widely publicized fundraiser with George Clooney seems to be soon becoming a Hollywood blockbuster. A May 10 dinner at Clooney’s Studio City, Calif., home has sold out at 150 guests, who are expected to jointly contribute between 5-6-million-dollar toward Obama’s re-election effort, people familiar with the event said.

A majority of Virginians say that President Obama’s positions on issues are “just about right” in a new Washington Post poll. In addition, a leading daily cites sources saying that the campaign expects to have raised as much as 6-million-dollar more in online donations, which were solicited as part of a nationwide contest to win a ticket to the dinner.

A haul of 12-million-dollar would arguably make the soiree the biggest single presidential fundraising event in U.S. history. Campaign sources are throwing cold water on the estimated total from Internet contributions, however, as being too high. Demand for tickets to the Clooney event was so intense that organizers attempted to limit attendance to residents of Southern California, the daily reported.

The frenzy of interest echoes Obama’s record-breaking fundraising effort in 2008, when massive rallies and donor events became routine. Obama is particularly focused on donors in the entertainment and technology sectors this time around because of his troubles raising money on Wall Street. But the Clooney event also comes amid escalating attacks from Republicans on Obama’s celebrity status. American Crossroads, a conservative group advised by GOP political guru Karl Rove, released a web video last week mocking Obama``s “cool” reputation as representing style over substance.

“After four years of a celebrity president, is your life any better?” the ad asks, as Obama is shown hugging late night TV host Jimmy Fallon.

The 2008 Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), tried a similar line of attack in the last presidential race. The Clooney event is just one example of the Obama campaign’s aggressive and often creative fundraising tactics, from dinners with the president to ads featuring the family dog, Bo.

The campaign relentlessly publicized an “Obama, Clooney and You” fundraising contest that ended Monday, bombarding supporters with e-mails, text messages and tweets urging them to donate 3-dollar or more and sign up for a chance to attend the dinner.

“By pitching in before midnight, you’ll automatically be in the running to join me and George Clooney at his place on May 10th,” a leading daily has quoted Obama as saying in an e-mail to supporters on Monday.

“It’s not often I can get away from work, so I look forward to spending a fun evening in L.A. with a couple supporters like you,” he added.

Most of those in attendance will give a lot more than 3-dollar, however: Up to 40,000-dollar per person to Obama’s campaign and related political committees. If all 150 guests give the max, the total would hit 6 million dollars.


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