That, and other news, in today's Political Panorama.
As has been expected, Oprah Winfrey will host a fund-raiser for Barack Obama. She'll host Obama and his wife, Michelle, at her Santa Barbara-area home on Sept. 8. Per the Los Angeles Times' Tina Daunt, an e-mail invite touts it as "the most exciting Barack Obama event of the year anywhere…" Entry fee is $2,300 per person, with donors getting more face time with the presidential candidate if they commit to raising $25,000 and dinner with the Obamas if they raise $50,000.
This is Winfrey's first endorsement of a presidential candidate. Obama also is backed by such celebrities as George Clooney and Matt Damon.
Murdoch Contribution: Rupert Murdoch's first contribution to 2008 candidates is to Hillary Clinton. He gave $2,300 to her campaign around the time that his News Corp. COO Peter Chernin was hosting an event for her with Steven Spielberg. It doesn't mean that he endorses Hillary. In fact, Murdoch has dismissed such thoughts in the past, even if he hosted a fund-raiser for her Senate re-election bid last year. He has said that he likes Newt Gingrich, who is not (yet) in the race. Also giving to Clinton: Murdoch's son, James Murdoch.
Franken's Race: The good news for Al Franken's Senate race in Minnesota is that he's raised more than any other candidate, including incumbent Norm Coleman. The bad news is that he faces a serious challenge for the Democratic nomination from attorney Mike Ceresi. Franken got money from a long list of celebrity donors including "Saturday Night Live" alums, comedian Rosie O'Donnell, Tom Hanks, Paul Newman, Larry David and Meg Ryan. Franken's camp defends the influx of Hollywood money, saying that his donors won't ask for earmarks like the business interests who back Coleman.