3RD UPDATE, 5:54 PM: President Barack Obama at a Hollywood-studded fundraiser tonight reviewed The Dark Knight Rises and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman performance. “She’s spectacular. I got a chance to see Batman, and she was the best thing in it. That’s just my personal opinion.” Obama said. After an intro by Weinstein calling Obama “The Paul Newman of American presidents”, POTUS also praised The Newsroom’s Aaron Sorkin. The fundraiser was hosted by Hathaway, Sorkin, Paul Newman’s widow Joanne Woodward, and Weinstein at the producer’s Connecticut home. Tickets went for $35,800 each. The 60 guests included Vogue editor Anna Wintour and TV talk show host Jerry Springer. Here’s the condensed of the White House Pool Report which includes a description of Harv’s country estate:
The motorcade departed Stamford at 7:13 p.m. and, after a short trip north on I-95, arrived at 7:33 p.m. at the Westport home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman. Along the way in Westport there were clusters of supporters along the road, waving, some holding signs such as “Westport loves Obama.”
Upon arriving at the estate, your pool was led up a long driveway, past the valet parking sign, past the broad lawn dotted with weeping willows and a badminton court, to the home. It’s a two-story, graceful, white home with black shutters, looking like a large, updated classic New England farmhouse (reportedly 8,900 square feet). Poolers eventually were led into a room to the right of the front door, where guests were seated at six tables.
The room was softly lit, with large rough wooden beams crisscrossing a high arched ceiling. On one end of the room there were bookshelves, the central focal points being two gold Oscar statues. Each table had a low centerpiece of what looked like pale pink Dahlias. Seated at the table closest to Mr. Obama was Anne Hathaway, wearing a silver dress with puffed sleeves gathered from the elbow to the shoulder, and a tight bodice. Also spotted in the audience were Aaron Sorkin, seated next to Anna Wintour, whose signature sunglasses rested on the table in front of her. Also present were Joanne Woodward and Jerry Springer. Connecticut Gov. Daniel Malloy was again present.
As we entered the room, Harvey Weinstein was speaking, introducing the president, who was standing beside him.” Leading with your heart is the utmost for this president. Fighting for Planned Parenthood and protecting women’s rights, this president has fought the good fight,” Mr. Weinstein said. “Recently in Aurora, we saw him put his arms around the people that needed him the most.” He added, “You can make the case that a he’s the Paul Newman of American presidents.”
Mr. Obama then took the microphone, praising some of his celebrity guests. He said of Ms. Hathaway, “She’s spectacular. I got a chance to see Batman, and she was the best thing in it. That’s just my personal opinion.” She beamed and laughed. Of Mr. Sorkin, the president said he “writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.”
“We’ve spent three and a half years trying to make sure this country gets back on its feet,” Mr. Obama said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we’re not done. These gains are reversible. On a whole host of issues, you guys are the tiebreakers.”
PREVIOUS 4:13 PM: President Obama is in the car and heading over to Harvey Weinstein’s Westport, Connecticut house, says the White House Pool Report. The producer is hosting a $35,800 a ticket fundraiser for the incumbent at his beachfront home, along with Anne Hathaway, Aaron Sorkin and Paul Newman’s widow Joanne Woodward. Approximately 60 guests are expected to be at the event according to the campaign. Previously, Obama was at a $500 a head fundraiser in Stamford, Conn. in front of an audience of around 400. He concluded his remarks there at 3:58 PM. Obama is set to speak at the Weinstein event around 5:30 PM.
PREVIOUS, 2:45 PM: Looking for some Hollywood money to help him catch up with the amount of cash rival Mitt Romney is raking in, President Barack Obama landed in Connecticut for a fundraiser at Harvey Weinstein’s Westport home. Obama landed in the state at 2:15 PM. Before heading over to the $35,800 a ticket Weinstein event, which is co-hosted by The Dark Knight Rises star Anne Hathaway, The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin and Paul Newman’s widow Joanne Woodward, Obama will attend a $500-per person reception at the Stamford Marriott for a crowd of around 400. Obama is scheduled to speak to the estimated 60 guests at Weinstein’s house around 5:30 PM. Weinstein’s name and recent remarks on gun violence came up today on Air Force One, as the plane flew from Washington D.C. to New York City’s JFK Airport, in reference to the fatal shooting this weekend at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.
Here, in an edit from the White House transcript, was how the Oscar winning producer was mentioned and the response from Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest:
Q Harvey Weinstein has made some comments recently about the need for gun control. And in light of the temple shootings in Wisconsin this weekend — and he’s talked about the movie industry’s role in glorifying violence sometimes. Does the President have any plans to discuss that tonight?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I don’t know that there will be anything in the President’s prepared remarks this evening. But Jay talked about this pretty extensively during the briefing, about the President’s commitment to protecting Second Amendment rights while ensuring that we make maximum use of the laws that are currently on the books to ensure that people who don’t — who shouldn’t have guns aren’t able to get them.
The President talked about this pretty extensively in his speech to the Urban League a couple of weeks back. But I don’t know that he is going to — that he’s planned to make any additional remarks on that today.
PREVIOUS, 1:32 AM: Hollywood heavyweights and their money will once again be out in force for President Barack Obama today. This time it’s a $35,800 a ticket fundraiser at Harvey Weinstein’s oceanfront 8,900 square-foot Westport, Connecticut house. Obama will be in attendance. A major donor to Obama’s reelection, Weinstein is co-hosting the intimate dinner tonight for 50 guests along with The Dark Knight Rises’ Anne Hathaway, Paul Newman’s widow Joanne Woodward and Aaron Sorkin, creator of HBO’s The Newsroom and NBC’s The West Wing, according to the Hartford Courant.
Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was originally reported to be co-hosting tonight’s dinner as well but it is unclear now if she still is or even if she will be there. The White House says Obama is expected to speak to the guests at Weinstein’s house at around 5:30 PM, after attending another campaign event in Stamford, Conn. earlier in the day. The last time Obama was in that part of the country for some Hollywood cash was on June 14 for a similar swanky fundraiser at Sarah Jessica Parker’s house in New York City’s West Village. That event was co-hosted by the Sex In The City star and Vogue’s Wintour. Tickets that night were $40,000 per person. Obama has had some more marquee Hollywood financial help since then. On June 29, it was announced that George Clooney would appear at an Americans Abroad dinner for Obama in Geneva on August 29. Earlier in the year, Clooney had raised a record-breaking $15 million for the Obama campaign with a dinner at his LA home with the President on May 10. Also on June 29, there was a Gen44 fundraiser for Obama, who was not in attendance, at Soho House here in LA. That event featured Young Hollywood types such as Jared Leto and Olivia Wilde and not-so-young Hollywood types such as David Fincher and Peter Frampton plus many more. Anne Hathaway’s participation in today’s event isn’t the first time a Dark Knight Rises actor got behind Obama. On July 19, it was revealed that Morgan Freeman had donated $1 million to the pro-Obama Super PAC Priorities USA Action. The Dark Knight Rises star’s donation matched one made to the same Super PAC by Bill Maher in February. Obama is expected to raise around $2.5 million today at the Weinstein event and the Stamford event. That one day haul will beat the $2.22 million the incumbent has raised in Connecticut so far this year. The money raised Monday is to be shared by the Obama Victory Fund and the Democratic National Committee. Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney, who received a Hollywood endorsement of his own from Clint Eastwood this weekend, has raised $4.78 million in the state, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. After leaving the fundraiser at Weinstein’s tonight, the President is scheduled to be heading back to the White House via NYC’s JFK Airport around 7:05 PM.