There were 150 supporters at the fundraiser including two women who won an online contest after making small donations online. The rest of the crowd paid $40,000 apiece to attend the dinner, which was held under a tent set up on Mr. Clooney’s outdoor basketball court.
Mr. Clooney said the event was put together with the help of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg. Other attendees of the dinner included Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Salma Hayek, Tobey Maguire, Barbra Streisand (who, according to then pool reportwas “looking serious throughout”), Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Billy Crystal.
President Obama told the crowd he saw one of his famous “HOPE” posters from the 2008 campaign hanging in Mr. Clooney’s house.
“People don’t realize that the photograph of me is actually me sitting next to George,” the president said referring to an event where Mr. Clooney was discussing the situation in Darfur. “This is the first time that George Clooney has actually been photo-shopped out of a picture. Never happened before, will never happen again.”
President Obama concluded his remarks by telling the crowd to expect a tough, close election.
“I will just close by saying this is going to be harder than it was the last time. This is going to be harder than it was last time, not only because I’m older and grayer and your HOPE posters are dog-eared. 2008 in some ways was lightening in a bottle,” he said. “That’s not going to be replicated and we shouldn’t expect it to. I’ve been president for three and a half years but part of the reason it’s going to be harder is because folks are still hurting out there and those frustrations with Washington and with the nonsense they see on the news is making them more cynical than they were in 2008.”
President Obama said he and his supporters would have to fight against this “cynicism and the belief maybe things can’t happen and maybe the game is rigged” to win the election.
“We’re going to have to keep those fires burning all the way through November and beyond because I’m not interesting in just winning the election,” he said. “I’m interested in making sure we can finish what we started in 2008.”