Jan. 24, 2007 -- Is Hollywood abandoning Hillary?
On Wednesday morning, hundreds of Hollywood's movers and shakers received an invitation that they may find hard to refuse.
They've been invited to come meet Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's new superstar. He already has the buzz, but can he bring home the prize?
Movie moguls Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg want their Hollywood peers to join them at a Feb. 20 fundraiser the three are throwing for Obama.
For $2,300 a person and $4600 a couple, they can meet the candidate at a reception at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Those who commit to raising $46,000 (10 couples/20 tickets) for the evening will be invited to a private dinner at Geffen's Beverly Hills home.
The fundraiser represents a major slap for Obama's main competitor, Sen. Hillary Clinton, who has received financial support from all three moguls in the past. Spielberg, Geffen and Katzenberg, along with other employees of their entertainment company, Dreamworks SKG, have contributed $47,000 to Clinton since her 2000 New York Senate campaign.
Spielberg alone has contributed $11,000 to Clinton since that campaign, and his political consultant, Andy Spahn, emphasized that Spielberg and Geffen have not yet officially endorsed Obama. "Mr. Katzenberg is endorsing Sen. Obama's candidacy," he said. "Mr. Spielberg is co-hosting the event but has not made any endorsements as of yet."
Spahn added that Spielberg "expects to be helpful to a few candidates during this exploratory phase," and may host fundraisers for Clinton and John Edwards as well. "Spielberg likes John Edwards and has a relationship with him -- those are the two who he also likes."
Since the invitation went out just this morning, it was not clear who had R.S.V.P.'d for the event. But it is likely that those celebrities who've expressed support for Obama's candidacy -- including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Oprah Winfrey, Oliver Stone and superagent Ari Emanuel -- will be at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 20.