UPDATED 1:46 PM: Star attraction President Obama told some of the Hollywood’s biggest players and his biggest contributors that he understands if they’re feeling “donor fatigue” from all the times he’s hit them up for money. “We don’t have time to be fatigued because we’ve got too much to do,” he addressed the crowd at the two sold-out DNC fundraisers at former News Corp No. 2 and now independent mogul Peter Chernin’s house today. Tickets today range from $10,000 to $32,400. I’ve learned that longtime Obama supporter Disney boss Bob Iger flew back directly from a Fortune mag confab in China to make the lunch. And I’m told Fox Film chief Jim Gianopulos is also there along with Haim Saban as well. StarTrek/Star Wars director JJ Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath and HBO’s Mike Lombardo and his partner Sonny Ward, who held a fundraiser for the Obama/Biden campaign in the their home last year, are also in attendance. White House pool report and press office excerpts below:
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you. (Applause.) Oh, we’re okay, guys. Sit down. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, to Peter and Meg, I just want to thank them so much. Not only have they been longtime supporters, back when a lot of people couldn’t pronounce my name — (laughter) — but more importantly, they have supported so many good causes — most recently Meg’s unbelievable work on education here in Los Angeles. We truly appreciate it. They are not only great friends, but they’re great citizens. And for them to open up their home like this we very much appreciate. So give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)
Now, Peter gave a pretty exhaustive summary of what we need to do and what we’ve done, and I’m not sure I’ve got a lot to add. (Laughter.) And yet, I feel obligated to — (laughter) — since you guys wrote these big checks to the DNC — to say something. (Laughter.)
…So I want to thank you for your efforts. I appreciate what Peter said about donor fatigue. On the other hand, we don’t have time to be fatigued because we’ve got too much to do. And everybody here has been blessed in ways that require us to give something back.
President Obama spoke for 18 minutes, delivering a familiar speech focused on compromise, optimism about the future and the importance of electing Democrats. There was no news.
This was Obama’s first trip to Los Angeles since his reelection. He was here for fundraisers many times year, and told luncheon attendees that he understands if they are feeling “donor fatigue.”
The lunch event was outdoors in the Chernins’ backyard. Tables and chairs were set up in the grass, with cheery yellow roses and bowls of lemons adorning each table. A large, beige curtain cordoned off the yard. There were 11 tables with 10 guests at each.
In the crowd were current and incoming Los Angeles mayors, Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti, as well as Congresswoman Karen Bass. Producer JJ Abrams was also spotted. Peter Chernin is an entertainment executive who worked until 2009 at News Corp. His wife is an education activist.
President Obama stood behind a podium near the house, speaking without notes to the small crowd.
Less than a month after a fundraiser at Harvey Weinstein’s NYC house, Obama is in Santa Monica today looking for more Hollywood cash. Big Obama bundler Jeffrey Katzenberg won’t be in attendance. The DreamWorks Animation boss is in China this week. Though Chernin worked for the GOP inclined Rupert Murdoch, he is a long time Democrat. He was a major fundraiser for Obama during last year’s Presidential election and hosted an event for the Democrats at their home back in 2011 with Education Secretary Arne Duncan as the political headliner. Today, the more you pay the more President you get. The first event is a lunch for 100 people with tickets going for $10,000 each. After that Obama will sit down with a smaller group of around 35 individuals who have paid their $32,400 each for a chat and photo. This is Obama’s first LA visit since last year’s election. Of the President’s 14 visits since taking office, 12 have included fundraisers.