Hollywood Stars Back Obama's Same-Sex Push With $15M Fundraiser
President Barack Obama, who on Wednesday announced that he now supports same-sex marriage, has earned $15 million toward his campaign at a star-studded fundraising event in Los Angeles, which was hosted by his good friend actor George Clooney.
Obama and Clooney, who have been friends ever since the president's days as a senator, entertained on Thursday a large Hollywood crowd including stars such as Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, Barbra Streisand and her husband, James Brolin, Jack Black, designers Diane von Furstenberg and Trina Turk, as well as DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg, who introduced Obama in the large tent set up on Clooney's basketball court outside his Los Angeles home.
Half of the $15 million raised came from the approximately 150 attendees who each paid $40,000 a person to support the president's re-election, The New York Times reported, while the other half came from an online ticket raffle offering winners the chance to meet and greet the president. It was one of the biggest single fundraising events ever held, according to the Times.
The topic of focus for the night was clear – the stars came out to support the president after his controversial same-sex marriage comments in his interview with ABC News on Wendsday.
"And obviously yesterday we made some news," Obama stated in front of the crowd. "But the truth is, it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be. It grew directly out of this difference in visions."
"Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger? Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren't like us? Does that make us stronger? I believe it does. So that's what's at stake," he added.
The Hollywood crowd reportedly applauded Obama throughout his speech. Katzenberg, when introducing the president, expressed that "yesterday he did the right thing yet again."
As Clooney listened on alongside his girlfriend, former WWE professional wrestler Stacy Keibler, President Obama revealed that the famous "Hope" poster used for his 2008 presidential campaign, a copy of which hangs inside Clooney's mansion, was originally a photo of him and Clooney at a Sudan hearing at Congress – but the artist had cropped out the Hollywood star.
"And this is the first time that George Clooney has ever been Photoshopped out of a picture," the president joked. "Never happened before, will never happen again."
A review of Obama's top donors shows that about one in six publicly identify themselves as gay, a report published on May 9 by the The Washington Post shared.