Did Rudy Giuliani’s camp get too far out in front of its recent claim of a forthcoming endorsement and fundraising push from one Hollywood mogul?
Among the Hollywood VIPs attending tonight’s huge Barack Obama fundraiser is Brad Grey. Just getting inside the Beverly Hilton benefit requires a donation, and I’ve confirmed that the Paramount Pictures chairman coughed up a contribution. Grey’s attendance follows what I’m told was a private meeting he had with Obama on Capitol Hill two weeks ago. None of this would be newsworthy if, on Friday, The Hotline (the National Journal‘s respected daily briefing on politics) hadn’t reported that Grey “has agreed to raise money for ex-NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani…. [and] plans to endorse Giuliani next week, two sources close to the Giuliani campaign confirmed.” The scoop was picked up around the Internet Friday night. One problem: the news came as a surprise to Grey and his people. Because, I’m told, it wasn’t true. “Brad is a longtime friend of Rudy’s. He spoke to him three weeks ago and said ‘I’ll help you.’ But that’s it. He hasn’t committed to anybody. It’s very early in the race and he will help out a lot of people until it gets closer. He’s not officially a Republican,” an insider said to me.
In fact, Brad and Rudy have been friends since Grey’s production company, Brad Grey Pictures, produced with HBO the 2002 documentary, In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01 which presented an historical record of that day through the eyes of Giuliani and other New Yorkers. There’s little doubt that film will be shown repeatedly after Giuliani formally announces his bid for the presidency: it follows the mayor and his staff from their first realization about what was occurring through the tragedy. So it wasn’t all that surprising that a Giuliani campaign strategy memo — obtained and published by the New York Daily News in January — identified Grey as one of the business leaders who was envisioned as leading a “celebrities” fund-raising arm to help bring in at least $100 million this year, with a scramble for at least $25 million by March 31st. But the internal document also recognized that Grey was “publicly uncommitted” — leaving open the very real possibility that he was already privately in a relationship with one candidate. Then, as recently as January 31st, Brad attended a fundraiser for Rudy’s presidential exploratory committee at the Pacific Palisades home of Bill Simon, the 2002 California GOP gubernatorial candidate who is spearheading Rudy’s dollar-getting effort in the state. Certainly all this might lead Giuliani’s camp to believe the mayor had snagged Grey and thus scored a coup since GOP support is rare among mostly liberal Hollywood at that level. But shouldn’t someone, and even Rudy himself, have called Brad first to confirm? As far as Grey being a Republican or not, hard to imagine any showbiz Democrats hiring one of the Bush daughters as an office intern the way Brad’s Brillstein-Grey did when he was still running it the summer of 2001 — especially after that disputed election and the GOP’s general disdain for Hollywood.