Here’s the White House press corp pool reports just in about President Obama’s two fundraisers tonight at the same Holmby Hills estate of soap opera producer Bradley Bell and his wife. The first was an outdoor fundraising reception and Foo Fighters musical performance for 1,000 people with limited Gen44 tickets costing $250, and general admission tickets $500. Later was a fundraising dinner for just 80 people with tickets costing $35,800. Proceeds from both events will go to Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee authorized by Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee:
UPDATE POOL REPORT #2: Just after 8 p.m., pool was led into the main Spanish style house of the Holmby Hills estate of “The Bold and the Beautiful” producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen. In a dining room under a large gilded chandelier, George Clooney was standing amid 7 or 8 round dining tables, chatting with Valerie Jarrett and two others. Seated at one table was actor Jim Belushi, at another, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. A Democratic official said there were 80 guests in the room. At 8:05, Obama entered to applause. Clooney was a few steps away from the president when he entered. Behind Obama was a giant antique-looking gold-framed mirror. Obama recognized Villaraigosa and Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Fox. About a half dozen waiters dressed in black stood in the back of the room. The ceiling, with wooden beams, was similar to what you’d see in a California mission. Obama’s opening remarks were his standard campaign stump speech. He talked about ending the Iraq war, creating jobs, healthcare, talking to Marines at the gym where he worked out in Hawaii; them thanking him for ending Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, everyone playing by same set of rules. “The other side has a very different view about where they want to take this country,” where it’s ok if just a few do well, and those left behind, it’s their own fault, he said.
POOL REPORT #1: President Obama’s motorcade left the Beverly Hilton at 6:14 PM and drove to the Holmby Hills estate of The Bold and the Beautiful producer Bradley Bell and his wife Colleen. Wilshire, Santa Monica and Sunset Blvds were closed. From the press van, a dozen or so people along the route took pictures of the motorcade with their cellphones.
Upon arrival, pool was led up a driveway to a muddy footpath that ran along the side of a gigantic back yard full of hundreds of people. (A Democratic official told pool there were 1,000 guests.) A canopy of olive trees covered the footpath. Orange, pink and white floodlights illuminated trees all over the yard. A large brightly lit concert stage was set up on one end of the yard.The Democratic official told pool that prior to our arrival, the Foo Fighters had performed “Walk,” “Learn to Fly,” “My Hero” and a solo performance of “Everlong” by lead singer Dave Grohl, who accompanied himself on acoustic guitar. Pool also missed earlier remarks by comedian Jack Black and actress Rashida Jones, the Democratic official said. Pool was not close enough to the crowd to spot anyone recognizable.
On stage, Colleen Bell introduced Obama. Speaking of the president, she said, “He reminds us that change doesn’t come easy or fast.” At 6:30 PM, Obama walked on stage to applause. He was wearing a dark suit.
Obama’s remarks will be provided in full by the WH, but in the meantime, here are some highlights. He joked about the weather being relatively cold for Los Angeles. “You guys are not used to this kind of weather, are you,” he said. He added: “This is balmy, people.” He also said he loved the Foo Fighters. They were tired of winning so many awards, so they said, “Let’s do something else tonight,” Obama said. Obama also thanked Rashida Jones and Jack Black. He mentioned that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had been named Permanent Chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. (The pool could not see Villaraigosa.) Obama also said that the mayor of Charlotte, N.C., was present. An interpreter was on stage was translating Obama’s remarks into sign language.
Obama talked about the change he promised in the 2008 campaign and the depth of the nation’s economic troubles when he took office. “We did not fully comprehend at that point how deep this crisis would be,” he said. He mentioned the increase in jobs in recent months. “Don’t underestimate the changes we made,” he said. Also: “Our auto industry is saved, and General Motors is the No. 1 auto maker in the world again.” He said 2.6 million young people have health coverage who wouldn’t otherwise have it, had it not been for the healthcare law passed on his watch. “There are people whose lives have been saved because of the work you did in 2008,” he said. And: “As tough as things are, the changes we’ve made are remarkable, and they’re making a difference in the lives of people every single day.”
Obama spoke for 20 minutes. When he finished, the crowd applauded, and pool was led past basketball courts, multiple fountains, the driveway where Obama’s black SUV was parked, past the giant Spanish-style main house, a jacuzzi and swimming pool to a holding area in a pool house.
On Thursday, President Obama will attend other fundraising events in California — Corona Del Mar, San Francisco, and then leave the state.