September 17th, 2008
09:17 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama raises $11 million in Hollywood

 Entertainment executives arrive at Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., for a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

Entertainment executives arrive at Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif., for a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois.

LOS ANGELES (CNN) - Senator Barack Obama rubbed shoulders with the glitterati in a pair of fundraisers Tuesday night that brought in about $11 million for his campaign and the Democratic Party - breaking his own campaign's one-night fundraising record.

With the likes of Will Ferrell, Chris Rock and Leonardo DiCaprio looking on, Obama told the crowd "the financial crisis has suddenly focused people's attention and it's reminded people of what's at stake, it's reminded people that this is not a game, this is not a reality show, no offense to any of you," he said to laughter.

Obama took a serious tone. "The pain that we're seeing now on Wall Street I've been seeing for the last 19 months as I've traveled all across the country," he said at a dinner at Greystone Mansion which boasted views of Los Angeles most only see in movies and the per plate cost was $28,500. "Just remember what this campaign has been about from the start, it's not about Barack Obama it's not Joe Biden or Sara Palin or John McCain but it's about you and it's about us and it's about those who will never see the inside of a building like this and don't resent the success that's represented in this room, but just want the simple chance to be able to find a job that pays a living wage."

Obama acknowledged the tight race and tried to assuage fears that he would not close the deal in November – a sentiment he has heard frequently from voters on the trail.

"I know a lot of you, just in conversations while we were in the photo line, had all sorts of suggestions. I know that will surprise you and a lot of people have gotten nervous and concerned . we always knew this was going to be hard and this a leap for the American people and we're running against someone who has a formidable biography, a compelling biography. This is a genuine American hero," he said, referencing his Republican opponent. "If we can cut through the nonsense of lipstick and pigs and the silliness then I'm absolutely convinced that we're going to win."

In his standard stump line involving "lipstick" and "pigs," Obama normally references Paris Hilton and Britney Spears, two starlets that appeared in an ad over the summer playing up Obama's celebrity - but omitted that part of the line in front of last night's celebrity-heavy crowd.

Despite Tuesday night's haul, the campaign's decision to forgo public financing is going to make fundraising a regular part of Obama's schedule in the final stretch of the campaign when time is crucial. He has two more money events in Florida on Friday.

"There was this misapprehension somehow that even with the fact that we have this very large and dynamic fundraising base at the grassroots that we were going to have some huge fundraising advantage that was never the case," senior strategist David Axelrod told reporters Tuesday. "The whole corporate lobbying community is rallying to Senator McCain's side. They're producing a lot of money for him. So we always believed that between the Republican National Committee, the stipend that McCain would get in the general election from the government, and the 527s that we were going to have to struggle to keep pace and we are going to have to struggle to keep pace. But that's just the nature of the deal, you can't challenge that group and not expect that they're going to have a lot of money."

Obama campaigns in Nevada Wednesday and New Mexico on Thursday.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (529 Responses)
  1. Hillary Democrat

    Well I think I will go with experience instead of hollywood flash...McCain in 2008 and Hillary in 2012

    September 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. ken

    I have sat here and watched and seen that every move made by obama mccain has tried to mirror... We don't need a copycat for president... What will he do if he does win, call obama up on the phone and say what do I do next... Do the right thing and vote for Obama/Biden

    September 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Noah

    Obama is an elitist and a snob. He stated he believes Americans are "basically good people." Basically? What right does this guy have to say that about us? He has benefitted more from America than most people. He has been a product of Affirmative Action policies, using them to go to Ivy league schools. He is a guy who is a radical Socialist. He wants to punish people for being financially successful and re-distribute their wealth to individuals who have no incentive to work harder. He is the most liberal member of the Senate and people really need to take a close look at this guy's record (whatever small record he has that did not involve voting "present.") It is radical and nowhere near in line with what Mainstream America and Traditional America believe.

    September 17, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  4. Glenn; Bakersville, NC.

    Obama just earned another $100 contribution from me today. It's about time we took it right to McCain/Palin. You can't go to a street fight using pillows, you need bigger sticks! "The fundamentals of the economy are strong" and "Troopergate" are 2 pretty big sticks to smack em' down with! Nowhere in Finance 101 or 201 did they say that the American worker was a "Fundamental" of the economic structure. I'm also pretty sure that firing an administrator who didn't fire your EX-brother in law because your sister went through a nasty divorce is an abuse of power in any state!

    September 17, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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