Los Angeles: Surrounded by Hollywood stars, President Barack Obama was the leading character in an exclusive fundraiser held at George Clooney`s California home, where he admitted that his re-election will be more complicated than his victory in 2008.
Some 150 people attended the event, including Salma Hayek, Billy Crystal, Robert Downey Jr., Barbra Streisand, Jack Black and Tobey Maguire, which racked up about $15 million for Democratic Party coffers, a leading daily has said.
Obama`s support for same-sex marriage was one of the subjects most commented on and applauded during the dinner prepared by Wolfgang Puck, who was also the restauranteur at the Oscars gala, and there were jokes aplenty about how the president`s wrinkles and gray hairs contrasted with his youthful image of just four years ago.
"This is going to be harder than it was the last time - not only because I`m older and grayer and your `Hope` posters are dog-eared," the president said.
"(W)e`re going to have to fight against cynicism and a belief that maybe things can`t happen and maybe the game is rigged, what`s the point. That`s what we`re going to be fighting against this time," he said.
Even so, Obama said the "bottom line is I still believe in the American people, and I still believe in you. And I hope you still believe in me".
Despite it being an elitist event, the dinner was far from sumptuous and was served in a tent on the basketball court at Clooney`s home, where later the host, Obama, Maguire and others teamed up to play a friendly game.
Obama returns to Los Angeles June 6 to attend a number of fundraisers for the Democratic campaign, one of them organized by the city`s gay and lesbian community.