Third try is a big-ticket charm for the First Family and the Democratic National Committee when it comes to getting some Hollywood cash. Paying between $1,000-$32,4000 a pop, about 200 donors came out this evening for Michelle Obama’s DNC fundraiser at the home of Everybody Loves Raymond creator Phil Rosenthal and his wife, actress Monica Horan. As President Obama took to the road today to drum up support for last night’s State of the Union speech, Mrs. Obama made her long-awaited trip out West to raise money for the Democrats’ midterm election war chest and to add another voice to that chorus. The First Lady, who earlier pre-recorded an appearance on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show set to air Thursday morning, spoke for about 20 minutes tonight, hitting many of the themes of her husband’s speech before Congress yesterday. In her speech tonight, the First Lady urged the crowd to “write a big fat check. Write the biggest check you can possibly write,” according to the White House pool report. “I know some of you may be tired of always being asked for money, and I understand, because it’s not always easy to ask you for it. But we do this because writing the checks is the single most impactful thing you can do right now to affect the outcome of those midterms,” she told the Tinseltown audience. Among those in attendance were longtime Democrat supporter Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin, Tim Robbins, and LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and his daughter, according to the pool report. The event is estimated to have raised more than $650,000 according to sources close to the DNC. The First Lady is the second major Democrat out in L.A. in a week after NY Gov. Andrew Coumo was in town last Thursday raising more than $600,000 for his re-election.
Here’s an abbreviated description of the evening from the White House pool report:
The scene: Gated community in Hancock Park featuring sprawling houses and manicured lawns. More than a dozen protestors stood outside the gates, protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
The Rosenthal/Horan manse is Spanish-style and yellow with dark brown accents, lush greenery and potted citrus trees. The reception took place in a large courtyard lined with ivy and featuring a large koi pond. FLOTUS, wearing a black and white dress, spoke on a small stage under a tent, standing at a clear podium and reading from a teleprompter. A helicopter buzzed overhead for part of her remarks, which occurred once night fell and the air grew chilly.
About 200 people attended, holding glasses of champagne and wine as they stood around heat lamps and cocktail tables decorated with sprays of light pink roses and other flowers. There didn’t appear to be any food during the brief period your pooler was allowed in, but earlier, caterers from Pizzeria Mozza – the Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joseph Bastianich restaurant – were spotted loading spheres of dough into a large portable pizza oven near the garage/guest house.
The Hancock Park event was a long time coming. Originally, it was supposed to be President Obama himself at home of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman but that September 9 appearance was pulled on September 5 last year. because of the possibility of military action in Syria. Then it was announced on September 13 that the First Lady would be attending a re-scheduled event on October 11 at Rosenthal’s. Jinxed again, that event was scrubbed on October 8 because of the ongoing government shutdown at the time. Now that she has finally made it out here today, Mrs. Obama heads up to San Francisco for the next couple of days to headline a series of DNC fundraisers there.
Not that the President didn’t make up for his previous absence himself. The Democrats’ marquee money magnet was in LA last November to pocket some Hollywood dough for the party. The President headlined a $2,500 to $15,000 shindig at Magic Johnson and wife Cookie’s house, then he cruised over to the Bev Hills home of Haim Saban and his wife Cheryl for a $16,200-a-person or $32,400-a-couple dinner. The next day, Obama finally made it over to Kauffman’s place.