George Clooney's fundraiser for President Obama a rousing success
The New York Times reports that among the celebrities in attendance were filmmaker Jeffrey Katezenberg (who helped organize the fundraiser), Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin, Salma Hayek, Tobey Maguire and designers Diane Von Furstenberg and Trina Turk, in addition to Clooney and girlfriend Stacy Keibler, of course.
The total raised was nearly $15 million for the $40,000-a-plate dinner, about half of which came from the celebrity donors and the rest from the campaign sweepstakes held online for small contributions, which chose two donors at random to attend the event.
President Obama made a veiled reference to his announcement that he personally supports gay marriage - "And obviously yesterday we made some news. 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," said President Obama.
After his remarks, the President took a turn at each of the 14 tables and stayed at the event for nearly four hours, which is highly unusual. Typically the president will spend less than an hour at a fundraiser.
The President also made sure to get some digs in at host George Clooney, with whom the President has had a friendship since he was a Senator and Clooney was speaking to Congress for humanitarian aid to victims of war in the Sudan.
But lest you think the President was dropping bombs like, "George has more pull than John Travolta at a massage parlor" - he was not. Those are fake live-tweets from comedian Ben Hoffman's account. He was not in attendance, so do not be fooled into thinking his Twitter is chronicling the fundraiser.