Sloan_eventJohn McCain told a crowd of some 300 supporters at the home of MGM chief Harry Sloan that if he is the Republican nominee, California will be in play.

The event, held as the Democrats were debating at Hollywood & Highland on Thursday, was McCain’s first major Hollywood fund-raiser since his phoenix-like rise to GOP front-runner.

According to sources who were there, McCain vowed to campaign in the state — unlike the past four election cycles, when the GOP has largely ceded California in the general election to the Democratic nominee.

It may not be rhetoric, as McCain’s maverick status and his stances on global warming and immigration could help him draw independent voters.

There’s also the enthusiastic backing of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who also was at Sloan’s home and also addressed McCain supporters. Back in 2004, Schwarzenegger campaigned for President Bush — but in Ohio, not the Golden State. Even if McCain doesn’t win the state, he could force the Democratic nominee to spend precious time here, robbing them of what has been a solid firewall in general election contests.

Sloan’s event drew a crowd that included politicos like Jack Kemp and industry types like Tim Allen, Jerry Bruckheimer and Bruce Ramer. Also there were Kelsey Grammer and Jon Voight, big backers of Rudy Giuliani.

Sloan introduced McCain and noted that "Now that he is risen from the ashes, the only thing left for him to perform is for him to walk on water."

It was a fitting comment, as the Arizona senator spoke atop a piece of see-through plexiglass that covered a jacuzzi.

Photo: John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harry Sloan.

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