President Barack Obama returned to Los Angeles for another round of fundraising on Thursday, starting with an evening fundraiser at the Bel Air home of environmental activist Cindy Horn and her husband, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn.
He told a group heavy in showbiz figures — including Julia Roberts and Gwyneth Paltrow — that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, once considered outliers, actually reflect what has been happening to the GOP.
According to a pool report, Obama said that Trump and Cruz are “laying bare, unvarnished, some of the stuff we’ve been dealing with in Congress.”
The event, priced at $33,400 per couple, was to raise money for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Some industry progressives have expressed new hopefulness that if Trump or Cruz is the GOP nominee, it could hurt Republicans down ballot and boost Democrats seeking to cut into the GOP House majority.
“It gives you a sense of what is at stake in this election,” Obama told the crowd, gathered under a tent around round tables with floral centerpieces. “What’s at stake is how our democracy functions.”
The event at the Horns drew a long list of co-chairs and co-hosts, including Marcy Carsey, J.J. Abrams and Katie McGrath, Norman and Lyn Lear, Julia Louis Dreyfus and Brad Hall, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, Chuck Ortner, Andy Spahn and Jennifer Perry, Mike Stoller and Corky Hale Stoller, and Peg Yorkin. The event included a dinner and a VIP reception.
Obama said that he recognized a “deep obsession” with Trump, but predicted that the real estate mogul would not be his successor.
Cindy Horn introduced Obama. In a lighthearted Disney reference given that her husband and company CEO Bob Iger were in attendance, asked the president whether he thinks of “beauty in the beast” when he and First Lady Michelle Obama get into the presidential limousine. Obama said that he may use the line, according to the pool report.
“In the face of Republican obstruction and inaction, he’s taken hold action,” she said.
She also noted that Obama recently was in Cuba, quipping that in Los Angeles, such journeys are called the “Andy Spahn migration plan.” It was an inside joke reference to Spahn, the political and philanthropic adviser to such figures as Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, and long an advocate for improved relations with Cuba.
Obama landed at about 7:30 p.m., and was traveling with his daughter Malia.
On Friday morning, Obama is scheduled to attend a breakfast fundraiser at the home of Tobey Maguire and his wife Jennifer. The event will raise money for Democratic Senate candidates. Tickets to the event are $33,400 per couple.
Obama was last in Los Angeles on Feb. 11 for a series of fundraisers, as well as a private dinner with showbiz figures. He attended a fundraiser at the Horns’ home in May of 2014, to raise money for Democratic House and Senate candidates.