Michelle Obama kicked off February with an exclusive fundraiser in Beverly Hills at the home of Netflix executive Ted Sarandos and his wife Nicole Avant, who raised Hollywood millions for the Obamas in 2008, and then became their ambassador to the Bahamas. Now Avant's back managing Obama's Hollywood money march. Many of Tinseltown's titans ponied up: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Harvey Weinstein, Haim Saban and Steve Bing, among others. (Katzenberg has also given $2 million to the Obama-affiliated super PAC called Priorities USA Action.)
California has the largest amount of "bundlers" who've raised gazillions for Team Obama. Bundlers collected at least $35 million from their wealthy-people networks. That represents at least 40 percent of the $86 million raised by the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee last quarter.
That list includes not only Katzenberg and Weinstein, but also Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. ABC "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria was in the second-highest tier, bundling $200,000 to $500,000. You don't have to have a California address to be a Hollywood bundler either. David Cohen of Philadelphia is executive vice president of Comcast, the new owners of NBC and Universal Studios.
In her remarks in Beverly Hills, Michelle Obama plucked the liberal heartstrings by touting her husband's appointment of two "brilliant" women to the Supreme Court to push social liberalism:
"We cannot forget the impact their decisions will have on our lives for decades to come -- on our privacy and security, on whether we can speak freely, worship openly and yes, love whomever we choose."
That love-whomever-we-choose theme is a sop to another major Hollywood/New York constituency, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists. Last summer, Michelle Obama appeared at another million-dollar California fundraiser at the luxurious Westwood mansion of her interior decorator Michael Smith and his partner James Costos, an executive at HBO. Ellen DeGeneres and her partner Portia de Rossi were there, as well as Drew Barrymore, Ryan Phillippe and Vanessa Williams.