UPDATE: Here’s what the Edwards campaign has told me tonight on the record: “Senator Clinton called Senator Edwards on Friday, but they didn’t connect. That evening, someone asked him if he had spoken to her, and he said they hadn’t talked yet since they hadn’t, but he certainly did not suggest that she hadn’t reached out. They spoke today and had a very nice conversation, and Sen. and Mrs. Edwards both appreciated her call.”
EXCLUSIVE: At a Hollywood fundraiser Friday night, John Edwards told donors that he and wife Elizabeth heard personally from every candidate and their spouse after their press conference — except the Clintons. “He said Hillary and Bill didn’t call but all the others did with messages of support. He repeated the story to each table,” an attendee told me. I’m told that a member of Hillary Clinton’s team sent an email afterwards to at least one politico “claiming her staff had been repeatedly trying to make calls to the Edwards but hadn’t gotten through.” So the politico emailed back the Edwards’ home phone number. “Can you imagine making that excuse?” a Hollywood Democrat told me today. The fundraiser was held at the palatial Santa Monica home of entertainment super-lawyer Skip Brittenham and his wife, The Fall Guy TV actress Heather Thomas. It was one of the first big events attended by Edwards and his wife Elizabeth just a day after their public announcement that her cancer had come back. About 100 Hollywood bigwigs who attended the cocktail reception and dinner were shocked by the news disseminated by Edwards that night. The incident is all the more inconceivable since Hillary (without Bill) was in Los Angeles Saturday night for a huge 500-guest gala fundraiser at the estate of grocery store mogul and investor Ron Burkle, a longtime friend of the Clintons. Unlike Hillary, Edwards has been raising money in Hollywood at a series of medium-sized receptions. He did an event in January at Endeavor talent agency and attended a reception earlier this month at the home of Endeavor’s motion picture agent Adam Venit. One account said those present Friday night included Laurie David, Cindy Horn, Norman Lear, James L. Brooks, Nina Jacobson, Armyan Bernstein, Skip Paul, Edie Wasserman, daughter Lynne and granddaughter Carol Leif.
One report says Hillary’s fundraiser $2.6 million for her presidential campaign (or twice as much as Sen. Barack Obama raised last month at a similarly big fundraiser thrown by DreamWorks SKG’s David Geffen, and a gazillion times more than Edwards’ intimate event). Guests included Barbra Streisand, Terry Semel, Bob Daly, Alan Horn, Mary Steenburgen, Ted Danson, Jeremy Piven, Paula Abdul, Jeff Ayeroff, Chris Albrecht, Norman Lear, Berry Gordy Jr., Christine Lahti, Steve Bing, Peter Locke, Haim Saban, Fred Rosen. Another Clinton Hollywood fundraiser is being planned for next month with Steven Spielberg as the host. Guests heard a song recorded by country star Merle Haggard called “Let’s Put a Woman in Charge”.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton urged a Madison Avenue crowd at a Viacom event in NYC on Friday to push for more disclosure in political attack ads, an issue on which ad buyers have some clout. The speech was made at the upfront ad sales for the “TV Land” cable net. Bill urged the assembled Madison Avenue crowd Clinton also described his favorite shows as Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal and 24, which he said he likes “apparently even though an uber-right-wing guy writes it.” He was referring to series exec producer Joel Surnow.
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