Spielberg Endorses Clinton

Updated

Please note corrected version for Variety.com.

It had been anticipated, but the campaign made the official announcement this morning.

The director released a statement making it clear that he had chosen Clinton for her experience and because she would be a “strong leader.”

It is somewhat of a blow to the Obama campaign, because earlier this year it had looked like the director would back his candidacy.

“I’ve taken the time to familiarize myself with the impressive field of Democratic candidates and am convinced that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate to lead us from her first day in the White House,” Spielberg said. “Hillary is a strong leader and is respected the world over. As president, she will bring America back together, rebuild our prestige abroad and ensure our protection here at home.”

It had been widely anticipated that Spielberg was leaning toward Barack Obama when he and his DreamWorks partners Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen agreed to co-host a fund-raiser for the candidate in February. But there were some reports that Bill Clinton personally intervened and convinced Spielberg to hold off an an endorsement of Obama and also raise money for Clinton. Spielberg’s political consultant, Andy Spahn, says that those reports were “completely untrue.”

“He was not endorsing at that time and said he wouldn’t for a few months,” Spahn said.

On May 30, the DreamWorks partner co-hosted an event for Clinton at the home of Peter Chernin that raised  about $800,000.

“It was after that visit that it set it in motion,” Spahn said.

The Spielberg endorsement is important because he can help lure additional donors, not to mention the cachet his name carries throughout the industry and nationwide. Spahn is one of the veteran fund-raising experts in the industry. (Spahn also reps Katzenberg, who continues to endorse Obama).

The Obama campaign has been anticipating the endorsement. It had been floating out there and I reported it her on June 2. On Tuesday, at a Hancock Park fund-raiser featuring his wife Michelle, some of his Hollywood backers were talking about recent reports that Clinton has been experiencing a surge in Hollywood. And Michelle Obama was asked about her husband’s No. 2 position in the polls. She noted that he husband actually has been pulling in more donors nationwide.

Obama’s campaign has the endorsement of Oprah Winfrey, and she is expected to host an event for him.

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