Glitzy Obama-Clooney Fundraiser Breaks Records with $15M
By Sara Dover | May 12, 2012 2:33 AM EST
President Barack Obama's Los Angeles fundraiser with George Clooney broke records Thursday night, capping off a cash boost that came off of his endorsement of gay marriage earlier this week.
The Obama campaign raked in $15 million from the swanky, top-dollar affair in a tent outside the actor and activist's mansion, where 150 of Clooney's famous and rich friends paid up to $40,000 a seat. A raffle heavily advertised by the Obama campaign brought an additional $9 million, according to the Associated Press.
When Obama thanked the crowd for the contributions, he lavished praise on his famous co-host.
"We raised a lot of money because people love George ... they like me; they love George," he said, according to TMZ.
One of the big topics of discussion that evening was undoubtedly Obama's going public with his support for same-sex marriage in an ABC interview on Wednesday. Guests included Hollywood stars Robert Downey Jr., Tobey Maguire, Jack Black, Salma Hayek, Billy Crystal, Barbara Streisand and her husband James Brolin and Clooney's girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, according to MTV News. Grassroots supporters Beth Topinka and Karen Blutcher attended with their husbands after donating online and winning the raffle.
"Obviously, yesterday we made some news," Obama said to a crowd that roared approval, according to Politico.
Despite the political risk, Obama's big announcement brought in an influx of cash. The New York Times reported that a couple, Juan and Ken Ahonen-Jover, immediately pulled to the side of the road on their way to Key West, Fla., as soon as ABC broadcast the statement, found an internet café, and donated a combined $10,000. Buzzfeed reported that the campaign received a total of $1 million in just the first 90 minutes.
The rush of money was expected. The Washington Post recently reported that about one in six of Obama's top bundlers is gay. One re-election bundler, Jon Cooper, told Capital New York that the president's "expressing his personal support for same-sex marriage is going to make my life immeasurably easier raising money from LGBT donors and progressives in general."
Obama's haul is even bigger considering a Seattle event earlier in the day that brought in $1.25 million and another fundraising brunch on the West Coast that was expected to bring in $1.8 million, according to Politico.
The president will be co-hosting another fundraiser in New York City on Monday with singer and LGBT rights advocate Ricky Martin. The Obama for America LGBT Leadership Council is joining forces with political Latino nonprofit Futuro Fund to sell tickets between $5,000 and $35,800 for the "intimate reception" with Obama and Martin at the Rubin Museum of Art.
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