When President Obama visits Los Angeles later on Wednesday for a series of fundraisers and a speech at Los Angeles Trade Technical College, it will be the 17th time he’s made the trek since taking office.
Most of his appearances have been for fundraising, and often his itinerary has included events at the home of prominent industry figures. On Wednesday evening, he will be at the home of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes, and will headline an event for the Democratic National Committee, with tickets starting at $1,000 per person. Several hundred people are expected. On Thursday, he will attend a more intimate reception, also for the DNC, at the home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, with tickets at the hefty amount of $32,400 each.
Undoubtedly there is a certain status attached to having the president visit your home, but it only can happen when the Secret Service clears a residence for logistical and security considerations. And there also is the issue of who will be able to draw on a strong network of donors who haven’t already been tapped for contributions. The DNC, for instance, asked Rhimes to host the event, something she has not done before.
Outside of Hollywood, Obama has attended fundraisers at the homes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Harvey Weinstein and Robert Rodriguez (in a recent visit to Austin, Texas). Here who in Los Angeles entertainment circles has had a visit from the commander in chief.
Drawing far more attention than usual was a May 2012, event at the Studio City home of Clooney, in part because of the actor’s fame but also because Obama’s reelection campaign made a contest out of it. In an attempt to draw low-dollar donations, two winners were selected to attend the starry event. It worked: The fete raised $15 million, shattering previous records for a single evening.
The then-couple hosted Obama at their Hancock Park home for an October 2011 fundraiser for Obama’s reelection campaign, aimed at drawing Latino donors. The co-host was Eva Longoria, who went on to become a campaign surrogate throughout the election cycle.
Obama also appeared that same evening at an event at the Hancock Park home of producer James Lassiter, business partner of Will Smith, and Lassiter’s wife Mai, for a pricey, intimate event with tickets at $35,800 per person. But before the event, the president made a public appearance — stopping by the eatery Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles for a surprise visit.
Obama attended an event in August 2010, at the Hancock Park home of Wells and his wife Marilyn. The “ER” and “West Wing” executive producer, who was then serving as president of the Writers Guild of America, West. The fundraiser raised money for congressional candidates, but was also the reason for the first Obamajam, when the Secret Service closed east-west streets for hours, leading to many irate motorists. They’ve become better at trying to prevent future tie ups, and Obama has made a bit more frequent use of Marine One for his hops around the basin.
The soap opera producers hosted Obama for a February 2012 event at their sprawling Holmby Hills home to raise money for the reelection campaign. Colleen Bell was nominated last year to be U.S. ambassador to Hungary, but the nomination has been tied up in the Senate.
In June 2012, Obama was back, drawing on his recently announced support for same-sex marriage to a series of events targeting Hollywood’s LGBT community. The priciest of the June 2012, fetes was at the Beverly Hills home of “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy and husband David Miller, with Jane Lynch, Reese Witherspoon and Julia Roberts among the guests.
Obama visited Katzenberg’s Trousdale Estates home in October 2012, just weeks before the election, at an event that the White House said was a ‘thank you” meeting with high-dollar donors. But, as reported in Mark Halperin and John Heilemann’s book “Double Down,” it also was a chance for Katzenberg to raise more money for a SuperPAC supporting Obama’s candidacy. Among those present were Seth MacFarlane, Steven Spielberg and Eric Schmidt, along with special guest former President Bill Clinton. Obama also visited the DreamWorks Animation studio in November 2013 (pictured).
Obama headlined a June 2013, event at the Santa Monica home of Peter and Megan Chernin to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, no easy feat given donro fatigue from the year before. Nevertheless, Robert Iger, J.J. Abrams and Haim Saban were among those attending.
The “Friends” co-creator and her husband, composer Michael Skloff, hosted Obama at a November 2013, event at their Hancock Park home shortly before the president gave a speech to employees at DreamWorks Animation in Glendale.
The media mogul and his wife Cheryl hosted Obama at a November 2013 event at their Beverly Park home, notable because Saban had been lukewarm to Obama’s 2008 candidacy. Several weeks later, Obama did a Q&A with Saban at a Saban Center for Middle East Policy event in Washington (pictured).
The Disney Studios chief and his wife Cindy hosted Obama at their home in May to raise money for House and Senate candidates, with guests including Barbra Streisand and James Brolin. Later, Obama accepted an award in Century City from the USC Shoah Foundation.