2ND UPDATE, 9:37 PM: President Obama tonight thanked Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg for “being tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name.” Obama’s remarks about the DreamWorks Animation CEO and his wife came during the $25,000-a-ticket dinner for 150 donors at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown LA. Harvey Weinstein, newly named Oscar host Seth MacFarlane and George Clooney, who gave some shout-outs from the audience, were also there, according to the White House pool report. Clooney also spoke today at the 30 Days Until Victory concert at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live. Read the edited and condensed pool report from the dinner plus excerpts of the president’s remarks from the White House Press Office here:
W.H. Pool Report - Shortly after 8pm pool went through the lobby to an elevator at the adjoining Ritz Carlton and to the 24th floor, arriving at the aptly named WP24. Attendees seated at about a dozen round tables, 10 people per table, were finishing plates of dim sum as pool arrived in the dimly-lit room, with views outside blocked by dark curtains. Bold faced names spotted by poolers: George Clooney, newly-minted Oscars host Seth, and Harvey Weinstein — all at the same table closest to where POTUS spoke. POTUS entered the room at 8:25pm, along with Mayor Julian Castro, who made a brief introduction.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat. First of all, you just heard from the future of the Democratic Party — the great Mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro. (Applause.) We’re so proud of him.
There are so many people I could thank tonight, so I’m just going to focus on three individuals. First of all, my unbelievable Southern California co-chairs — John Emerson and Ken Solomon. Please give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) They have been tireless in their efforts. They have been unbelievable.
The other person that I want to acknowledge in particular — because I said this to them privately, I’ve got to say it publicly — Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg have been — (applause) — they have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name. (Laughter.) And I will always be grateful to them for just the incredible support that they’ve given. So thank you very much. (Applause.) Thanks, both of you.
Some of you are aware that — well, all of you are aware that Michelle and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary. (Applause.) And the actual anniversary date was not that romantic. (Laughter.) There was some speculation as to whether this had an impact on my performance. (Laughter.) But I did make it up to her on Saturday. We went out to dinner, a date night. And it was a wonderful evening. It was a private room, because people kind of lean over and start listening if we’re in the booth next to them. (Laughter.) And Secret Service gets nervous. (Laughter.)
And we had this wonderful young waiter, and he brought us all our stuff, and he was patient with us as we were dawdling over the menu. And we were milking it for all it was worth because we don’t get out that often. But at the end of the dinner — it was very professional, very unobtrusive — but at the end of the dinner he just said, I wanted to just say how much I appreciate you because you saved my mother’s life — because my mother had a stroke, she wasn’t yet qualifying for Medicare, and because of the Affordable Care Act, we were able to get her coverage that allows her to take her medicines and is keeping her alive. And it reminded me of why we do this. I am a fairly competitive guy. Clooney has played basketball with me. (Laughter.) And I don’t like to lose — especially not to actors. (Laughter.)
MR. CLOONEY: We were on the same team. (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT: We were on the same team. I put him on the team — and we did win.
MR. CLOONEY: That’s right, we did.
THE PRESIDENT: And so sometimes during the course of campaigns, we get caught up in the sport of politics, and the ups and the downs, and doing the this and the that, and how much money did we raise and how many doors have we knocked on. And all that’s important, but it is in service of that waiter, Anthony’s mom….
W.H. Pool Report – After the remarks concluded pool immediately ushered out and to the vans. Motorcade was rolling out of downtown at 8:45pm.
1ST UPDATE, 7:49 PM: President Obama himself said today he doesn’t think he had a great night during the first presidential debate with Mitt Romney last week. “They’re such great friends, they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can’t always say the same,” said Obama of musicians like Stevie Wonder and others who played Sunday, according to the pool report. The musicians were part of the 30 Days Until Victory Concert in downtown LA tonight. Obama is now heading to Wolfgang Puck’s nearby WP24 restaurant for a $25,000-a-ticket dinner with 150 donors. According to pool reports (see below), Obama came onstage at the Nokia to speak to the audience of 6,000 at 6:18 PM. Beforehand, several musical acts including Wonder, Katy Perry and Earth, Wind & Fire performed. George Clooney and the mayors of LA and San Antonio also spoke. A big Obama supporter, Clooney held a Jeffery Katzenberg-organized fundraiser at his house in May that raised a record-breaking $15 million for Obama. He also spoke at an Obama event in Geneva in late August that raised $625,000. The 30 Days to Victory concert was executive produced by Ken Ehrlich, and co-produced by Eric Ortner and the Obama Campaign’s Entertainment Advisory Council.The concert today came after an afternoon visit by Obama and Bill Clinton to Katzenberg’s home for a meeting with the DreamWorks Animation CEO and 11 other big campaign donors. Read the president’s intro remarks, courtesy of the White House Press Office, plus the edited and condensed White House pool report here:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Thank you, everybody. Everybody, have a seat. Have a seat. Now, first of all, I’ve got some thank-yous to make. I am so grateful to George Clooney. Give it up for George. (Applause.) Jennifer Hudson. (Applause.) Old school — Earth, Wind and Fire. (Applause.) Jon Bon Jovi. (Applause.) New school — Katy Perry. (Applause.) Stevie Wonder. (Applause.) And I understand Katy had some choirs out, so give it up for the choirs. (Applause.) I want to thank the members of Congress who came today, and I also want to thank two of our country’s outstanding mayors — Julian Castro, and your very own Antonio Villaraigosa. (Applause.)
Now, I’ve got to admit that even though my staff all came over early to get the show, I got left behind. (Laughter.) But my understanding is it was an incredible show. (Applause.) These guys — and everybody here are just incredible professionals. They’re such great friends, and they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can’t always say the same. (Laughter and applause.) But here’s the good news, is we’ve got a better vision for our country. We have a better plan for the next four years. (Applause.) And that’s why we’re here tonight.
W.H. Pool Report: The president took the stage at 6:18 p.m. local time, standing in front of four American flags. He wore a buttoned-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a tie, and no jacket, and occasionally leaned both his arms on the podium. He stood in front of a screen that had a blue background and Obama’s “Forward” logo, and a massive American flag on either side. The backdrop was glittery black.
Obama finished speaking at 6:42 p.m., and headed to a fundraiser at WP24 atop the Ritz Carlton that cost $25,000 per person.
PREVIOUS, 5:27 PM: President Obama has left the private big donor meeting at Jeffrey Katzenberg’s house and is at the Beverly Hilton, according to White House pool reports. Obama will be heading to the fundraising concert at the Nokia Theatre at LA Live later this evening. Today is a triple Hollywood money hit for Obama, who has been in town frequently the past few months. After arriving in LA earlier in the afternoon, Obama, along with former President Bill Clinton, went to the DreamWorks Animation CEO’s Beverly Hills home to sit down with Katzenberg and 11 other top campaign donors. There was no press allowed at the event. However, earlier in the afternoon, White House spokesperson Jen Psaski briefed reporters on Air Force One on the meeting (see below).
Obama’s next stop is the 30 Days Until Victory concert fundraiser at the 7,100-capacity Nokia. As Deadline reported previously, Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jennifer Hudson and Katy Perry will perform. The president is scheduled to speak as well. The concert is being put on jointly by the campaign’s Entertainment Advisory Council and veteran Hollywood special events producer Ken Ehrlich. Afterward, Obama will attend an intimate $25,000-a-ticket dinner at nearby Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the nearby Ritz-Carlton. About 150 guests are expected. Katzenberg is one of the co-hosts.
Here’s an excerpt from the press gaggle on Air Force One from earlier today. Deadline will update the rest of Obama’s fundraisers in LA from the pool reports later in the evening:
Q: Can you also talk to us about tonight’s event — the first event, which is closed press? It’s sort of unusual. It’s not a fundraising event. Can you tell us about what it is?
MS. PSAKI: We have actually done meetings or events with high-dollar donors who have maxed out or contributed a high amount to the campaign around other events before. So this is one of those events; it’s a thank-you event for a small group of donors. President Clinton will be there with the President. President Clinton also has an event tomorrow morning that he’s doing that I believe I sent you all information on. The cost for — the tickets for those started at about $1,000. So it’s just an opportunity to thank donors who have been there with us.
Q: Will Bill Clinton speak as well as President Obama? Do they make informal remarks instead of formal remarks?
MS. PSAKI: Well, it’s a very small group of people; it’s only about a dozen people. So typically, it’s just around a table or in a small room, and no formal program. Obviously, if there was, that would be something we’d all be discussing and litigating. So it’s much more informal than that.
Q: Could you tell us about who’s going to be there?
MS. PSAKI: I don’t have a list and as you know, we don’t release lists of people attending fundraisers.