EXCLUSIVE: Despite mumblings of discontent among the faithful and urgings among the grass is greener crowd for Vice-President Joe Biden to join the 2016 race, the former Secretary of State showed today that she is still the one solidly holding the card to the Hollywood ATM. With over 200 guests expected in attendance, Hillary Clinton’s $2,700 a ticket fundraiser at the home of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman and wife Shari this afternoon is estimated to have brought around $225,000, I’ve learned. The 1 PM event is totally sold out as well, sources say.
Today’s planned trio of LA County fundraisers comes as Clinton appeared on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning and once again battled questions of her use of a private email server with Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Promoting her “transparency,” Clinton was more aggressive today in countering the queries, in this case from Chuck Todd, than on previous media appearances – even at one point asking if she was going to have to talk about “another conspiracy theory.” Just over a month and a half after she was last in town for fundraisers, today will be the last time Clinton hits up Hollywood directly before the October 13 first debate of Democratic candidates on CNN. (UPDATE, 2:34PM: Among Clinton’s industry supporters at today’s Friedman fundraiser were Homeland EP Howard Gordon, Haim Saban and political advisor Andy Spahn and wife Jennifer Perry. Clinton spoke for longer than usual, covering a variety of topics such as education in her 30-minute speech.)
While the ongoing investigations and media fixation on the email situation annoys many of Clinton’s longtime Hollywood backers, the rush to the door of another candidate isn’t happening anytime soon sources say – even with some slips in the polls. “This is Clinton territory, people know what they’ve signed up for,” one prominent Clinton-supporting exec told me. “Yes, she needed to come out here to reassure some of the important relationships she has here. But Hillary has strong support and an agenda that is in sync with a lot of people out here. That’s not going to evaporate – not with the Republican camp so clearly divided.”
While Donald Trump-level record high ratings aren’t anticipated for the CNN hosted Democratic quipfest next month, it does present one possible deadline for Biden to enter the fray – an issue Clinton wants to use today’s visit to defang. “The former Secretary knows there are some jitters out there,” an industry insider says. “But she plans to reassure supporters with a personal and strong, in-control presentation this weekend.”
In what is the ex-First Lady’s fourth trip to Los Angeles for cash since kicking off her second White House bid via video this spring, Clinton’s next fundraiser is set for this evening downtown at the Perch Rooftop. Following her usual LA clustering strategy, Clinton then will move on to another event, this time at Dr. Asif Mahmood and his wife Noshaba’s home in well-heeled Bradbury in the San Gabriel Valley. As well as the usual meet and greets, all three events include a host reception for the bundlers who raised $27,000 and more for the campaign AKA real money.
And as the cash push continues in what will ultimately be a multi-billion dollar race next year, so does the media swarm.
Clinton’s MTP interview on Sunday will be followed by a much-hyped interview with Girls creator Lena Dunham that’s set to go online Tuesday. More talk show sit-downs and late night visits, like Clinton’s ratings winning September 16 Tonight Show stint with Jimmy Fallon, are planned. And the search to put more California donor treasure in the already packed Clinton campaign war chests continues – the candidate is heading up to the Bay Area next for a series of fundraisers tomorrow.