First Lady rallies Hollywood crowd

Michelle Obama appears at local fundraisers

Appearing at the first of two fundraisers during a swing through Los Angeles on Tuesday, Michelle Obama asked a crowd heavy in show biz donors, “Are you with us?”

The First Lady was at a fundraiser at the Beverly Hills home of former Ambassador to the Bahamas Nicole Avant and her husband, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos.

“In the last three years, we’ve worked hard to get out of this mess and we’ve made some remarkable progress, but we know there are people still suffering and there is a long road left to travel,” Obama said, per a pool report.

Her husband’s reelection campaign is courting Hollywood donors, trying to shore up support in what is expected to be a costly and bruising battle in the fall. President Obama is scheduled to visit Los Angeles on Feb. 15 for a series of events at the home of Colleen and Bradley Bell.

Although there has been some grousing among studio chiefs after the White House released a statement critical of anti-piracy legislation, diminishing its prospects in Congress, Michelle Obama did not address the topic in her remarks before the crowd of about 135.

Those who were there included Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steve Bing, Berry Gordy, Vivica Ferrell, Quincy Jones, Jerry and Ann Moss, Jimmy Jam, Irena and Mike Medavoy, Rob and Michele Reiner, Terry Lewis, Reed Hastings, Arnon Milchan and Harvey Weinstein.

One attendee said that also present were Haim and Cheryl Saban, significant because Haim Saban had been regarded as one of the holdouts to Obama’s 2008 campaign. He was a major backer of Hillary Clinton in 2008, but was not involved in the general election after Obama secured the nomination.

Michelle Obama also talked about conversations she has with her husband, who sometimes tells her stories of the people he meets. “He might not remember your name, but he’ll never forget your story.”

Irena Medavoy, who raised money for Obama in 2008 and is returning this cycle, said of Michelle Obama’s remarks, “She has grown into such a formidable warm and wonderful First Lady. She was always a great partner but now she is a First Lady who is campaigning. You can see the difference.”

Obama’s visit also included a stop at “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and an appearance on “The Ellen Show.” She is scheduled to attend a fundraiser tomorrow at the home of James and Mattie Lawson.

Tickets to the event on Tuesday started at $5,000 per person, and $35,800 per couple to also attend a special greeting and photo with the First Lady.