Hollywood’s major influence in the 2008 presidential race came early, in the form of David Geffen and the notorious interview he gave to Maureen Dowd in which he said of the Clintons, “Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.”
In their new book “Game Change,” Mark Halperin and John Heilemann expand upon that February, 2007 episode, one that ignited the first public feud between the Clinton and Obama campaigns and, by highlighting the divisions in the entertainment industry, foreshadowed the greater rift within the Democratci party.
Halperin and Heilemann write that, after years of pressure from Dowd, Geffen finally relented to do an interview on the eve of a fund-raiser he was hosting for Obama along with Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Dowd, who read the column to Geffen before publication, was among those at a smaller dinner with the candidate later that night at Geffen’s Beverly Hills home, shortly before the column hit the Web.
They write, “Dowd warned Geffen that the column would be explosive. She asked is he wanted to take any of his words back. ‘Absolutely not,’ Geffen answered, fully dispensing with his past reticence. ‘That’s exactly what I said, that’s exactly what I feel.’
“Now, as Geffen showed the text of the column to Obama, he wondered how the candidate would react. Obama read it, gave Geffen a wide-eyed what-have-you-done look, and laughed. This is going to cause some conversation, Obama said dryly. They’re not going to be happy with this.
“‘I hope it doesn’t cause too much trouble,” Geffen said.
“Trouble for whom?” Obama replied and laughed again.”