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Hillary Rises, but Obama’s Back

Barack Obama returns to Los Angeles fund-raising circles on Monday, with a brunch at the Brentwood home of Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Michael Lynton and his wife, Jamie. He also has fund-raisers that day in Newport Beach and Pasadena. Obama’s wife, Michelle, will be along with him at some of the events, and she will appear on her own at a fund-raiser in Hancock Park on Tuesday.

All of this comes as there’s considerable talk of whether Hillary Clinton will outgun him in second quarter fund-raising. She raised more money than him from Hollywood quarters in the first quarter, but nationwide, Obama raised more in primary funds.

After Clinton’s fund-raising trip last week — which raised some $1.1 million from L.A. donors — Tina Daunt of the Los Angeles Times notes that Hillary’s star-power has risen in Hollywood after many donors flirted with Obama fever. The buzz in her camp is that Steven Spielberg is going to endorse her, as reported here last week, but there’s been no official announcement. And Daunt does note that support in Hollywood can be fickle, with some going back and forth on John Kerry many times before they backed him.

I talked a couple of days ago with an Obama fund-raiser who noted that the Spielberg endorsement, while a psychological boost, may not mean much because many of his contacts already maxed out by going to the event last week that he co-hosted with Peter Chernin and Haim Saban. Plus, the Obama camp has a big name waiting in the wings: Oprah Winfrey.

As usual, the truth will be in the numbers. Second quarter fund-raising figures won’t be released until around July 15, and its then we will see if Hollywood is in a serious shift of its support or if it looks to be a year of teeter-totter momentum.

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