President Barack Obama’s second to last official Hollywood fundraiser was a high priced but low-key affair with his top contributor Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn tonight – with a lot of emotions in the air.
Though the $100,000 a ticket roundtable event was a private affair for the Hillary Victory Fund, I’ve learned that long time Democratic supporters and past repeat Obama contributors JJ Abrams and spouse Katie McGrath were there. Just over a year ago, the Star Wars director and his wife hosted the President at their home for a $33,400 a ticket roundtable event. Also among the deep pocket attendees at the Katzenbergs’ tonight was superlawyer Skip Brittenham of Ziffren Brittenham.
“It was actually somewhat emotional with the history this group have with the President,” one guest told Deadline of the 6 PM starting evening. “Many of us know this will be the last time we’ll see him while he’s still in office.”
Like many a past visit to L.A. for Obama, the relatively intimate setting at the Katzenberg’s Beverly Hills pad saw POTUS sitting down with near one-on-ones. Unlike many of those past events at the home of the ex-DreamWorks Animation boss and others, tonight was closed media. It was also a Hollywood ATM swan song of sorts for a President who has gotten a lot of dough out of this town for his own campaigns and those of fellow Democrats over the years.
With around $3 million raised for the HFC tonight out of his core donor base, this was the President’s 42nd Tinseltown fundraiser since taking office in January 2009. A $33,400 a ticket event at Ryan Murphy’s tomorrow morning will be the 43rd and and very likely last H’wood cash-in for the 44th POTUS – with the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now a mere two weeks away from Election night. To that end, expect a lot of road closures around Bev Hills Tuesday morning with the trip to the American Horror Story co-creator’s home and the subsequent drive of the motorcade out to LAX and Air Force One.
BTW – Tinseltown political fixer Andy Spahn and Jennifer Perry were among the co-hosts breaking bread with POTUS tonight, as were past big contributors Crystal and Chris Sacca in a co-host capacity too.
Earlier in the day, the President swung by Jimmy Kimmel Live! after flying into LAX and choppering over to Burbank. A big fan of the late night platform, Obama’s return to the ABC host’s Hollywood studio looks to be the last time for him there too.
After leaving the Katzenbergs around 7:30 PM, Obama did a drive by visit to the nearby home of White House interior designer Michael Smith to hang with some non-paying pals. Usually overseas in Madrid, Smith is the partner of former HBO exec and current U.S Ambassador to Spain James Costos – who was named to the gig by the President in 2013.