The recent mass shooting in Roseburg, Oregon was among the topics discussed by President Barack Obama at a deep pocket private Hollywood fundraiser today at J.J. Abrams’ home. After a praise-heavy intro by the Star Wars director, Obama spent about an hour and 15 minutes “passionately” talking to around 20 guests about issues such as gun control, prison reform, voter turnout and the economy, according to one source. The event was estimated to have raised over $750,000 for Democratic Party war chest, say insiders.
In town for the afternoon, Obama was speaking in the living room of the Pacific Palisades home of Abrams and his wife Katie McGrath at a $33,400-a-ticket roundtable. The event at the Star Wars director and longtime supporter’s pad to raise cash for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee was the first of three fundraisers POTUS will hit while in Los Angeles for less than 7-hours today.
After leaving Abrams’ home at around 3:20PM Saturday, Obama is now at a $1,000-per-person private concert by Jamie Foxx to be held at a private home, also in Pacific Palisades. The sold-out event is to garner dough for Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee. Then at 5:40 PM, the President will swing over to the home of interior designer Michael S. Smith for a $10,000-per-ticket event for the Democratic Hope Fund and the DNC. Not only did Smith help the Obamas redecorate the Executive Mansion when they moved in back in 2009, but Smith’s husband former HBO executive James Costos was appointed to be the U.S. ambassador to Spain in 2013 by the President – both, like Abrams and McGrath, have been frequent check-writing fans of Obama’s.
Hot off fundraisers in Seattle and San Francisco yesterday and this morning, today is Obama’s 20th cash-seeking trip to the L.A. area since taking office in January 2009. In SF, the President joked about Kanye West’s publicly announced plans to seek the Oval Office in 2020. “Do you really think this country is going to elect a black guy from the South Side of Chicago with a funny name to be President of the United States?” Obama said of West, who was also appearing at the event at SF’s Warfield Theater this morning.
In total, just days before the first Democratic candidates debate on CNN, this is the President’s 23rd visit to the L.A. area during his administration – which shows you exactly how vital Hollywood cash is to the Democrats and this White House. While Vice-President Joe Biden and his potential rival for the 2016 nomination Hillary Clinton have been here several times in the past few months, today is the first time Obama has been back in L.A. since late June.
On that heavy fundraising trip, the President was the headliner at a $2,500 to $33,400 per ticket event on June 18 at Tyler Perry’s Beverly Hills home and a $16,700 per ticket roundtable-style sitdown at producer Chuck Lorre’s place. That night, as Deadline exclusively revealed, the President had an off-book dinner with Steven Spielberg and big time supporter Jeffrey Katzenberg. He also headed over to Highland Park the next day for an interview on the WTF With Marc Maron podcast.
After wrapping his trio of visits to the Tinseltown ATM, Obama will head back to the comforts of Air Force One around 7:30 PM tonight for a quick jaunt down to San Diego where he’ll hang out in the wealthy neighborhood of Rancho Santa Fe until Monday and returning to Washington – until the next cash-out visit.