Obama Keeps Celeb Ties Under Wraps

Prez wary of alienating struggling Americans by courting celebs
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2009 5:04 PM CDT
HOLLYWOOD - JULY 27: Actor Kal Penn arrives at the World Premiere of 'Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle' at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre on July 27, 2004 in Hollywood, California.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Kalpen Modi has ditched the TV series House and moved into the White House—and that’s just the way the president wants it, Sheryl Gay Stolberg writes in the New York Times. Now an obscure bureaucrat in Obama's administration, Modi typifies the president's low-key relationship with Hollywood. Obama has hosted stars like Pierce Brosnan and Bon Jovi, but quietly, not wanting to be seen schmoozing with celebs while ordinary Americans struggle.

“Hollywood is not the political asset, especially in the middle of the country, that people might think it is,” says one GOP strategist. Others have criticized Obama for granting movie stars even low-key Oval Office meetings. One observer notes, however, that Obama is the real star: “You don’t get the sense that Obama is stargazing. If anything, you feel like it’s the other way around.”