Opinion: Barack Obama returns to where the money is -- Beverly Hills


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Barack Obama is dropping in on his Beverly Hills friends tonight and will leave with his campaign coffers bulging with many millions more.

The first event, $28,500 per ticket, will be at Greystone Mansion -- the Beverly Hills landmark that was built with oil wealth, was the scene of a lurid murder in 1929 and has been the setting for numerous films, among them one of the “Ghostbusters” films, “Air Force One” and “Nixon.” (See photo below.)


The second event will be at the Regent Beverly Wilshire and will cost $2,500 per ticket. Barbra Streisand will provide entertainment, presumably singing.

The money will go to Obama’s campaign account, the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising accounts that Obama and the DNC have set up.

Both events are sold out. Obama’s campaign aides won’t divulge the amount they expect to raise, but it could be stratospheric.

The Greystone event is expected to draw 300. If all pay, the take would top $8 million. The second event is expected to draw 900, for upward of $2 million if all pay.

Hollywood moguls raising money for Obama tonight include David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and Steven Spielberg, as well as Michael and Jamie Lynton, he of Sony Pictures.

The amount raised tonight or on any other night cannot be gleaned from public documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. Dates that people send checks and dates they are ....

....recorded on the FEC reports don’t necessarily correspond with specific fundraisers.

The event occurs a week after chatter surfaced that Obama’s fundraiser somehow was faltering. It’s not.

Steve Westly, a major Obama fundraiser and California co-chairman of the Obama campaign, said the candidate raised $7.8 million at a single event three weeks ago in San Francisco. The campaign claims it drew $10 million in online donations during the GOP convention.


What’s clear is that Obama’s money machine is running at full-throttle. He raised a record $66 million in August, pushing his total to more than $450 million.

The amount he raised in August from California won’t be known until the final August reports are filed with the FEC this weekend.

Through the end of July, $46.3 million of Obama’s donations of more than $200 had come from the Golden State, compared with $13.6 million for Republican John McCain.

No less than $5.6 million of Obama’s money has come from executives and others involved in the movie, television and music industries, according to data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. McCain’s take from those sectors was $885,000, according to the center.

Westly and others attribute some of Obama’s recent fundraising success to McCain’s selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Palin’s conservative views ‘are scaring the pants’ off Democrats and swing voters, Westly said.

“She will be great for the right-wing base,” said Westly, who ran unsuccessfully for California governor two years ago. “For independent voters, she will be viewed as a frightening figure, and I don’t think she has the temperament for the job, especially with a 72-year-old running mate.”

UPDATE: Speaking in Ohio this afternoon, Sen. John McCain, who raised $5.1 million Monday night for a 10-minute speech at a small Miami fundraiser, had some caustic words for his opponent’s West Coast money haul today:


“He says he’s siding with the people just before he flew off for a fundraiser in Hollywood with Barbra Streisand. Let me tell you my friends, there’s no place I’d rather be than right here with the working men and women of Ohio.”

-- Dan Morain