Clooney, Obama Lovefest Sets Fundraising Record

'It's going to be harder this time,' warns Obama

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 11, 2012 4:47 AM CDT

(Newser) – As Dems hoped, President Obama set a new fundraising record at a glitzy event in George Clooney's backyard last night. The fundraiser attended by Hollywood's elite raked in a record-setting $15 million, according to DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, a major Obama fundraiser. Most of the 150 or so guests paid $40,000 for a ticket to the event but the bulk of the money raised came from a raffle for smaller donors: The two seats up for grabs were won by a science teacher from New Jersey and a utility company worker from Florida, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Obama circulated among stars including Barbra Streisand, Robert Downey Jr., Salma Hayek, Tobey Maguire, and Jack Black before giving a 19-minute speech. He thanked Clooney and noted that the famous "Hope" photo came from a photo of them both. "This is the first time that George Clooney has actually been Photoshopped out of a picture," he quipped. "Never happened before, will never happen again." He finished on a serious note. "This is going to be harder than it was last time," he said. "Not only because I'm older and grayer and your 'Hope' posters are dog-eared; 2008 in some ways was lightning in a bottle."

President Obama waves after arriving in Los Angeles last night.
President Obama waves after arriving in Los Angeles last night.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Law enforcement vehicles are parked outside Clooney's home, which appears to be about as far as press photographers were allowed last night.
Law enforcement vehicles are parked outside Clooney's home, which appears to be about as far as press photographers were allowed last night.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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