Obama to bring in millions at Clooney fundraiser

Reuters News
Posted: May 10, 2012 5:29 PM
Obama to bring in millions at Clooney fundraiser

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fresh from declaring his support for same-sex marriage, President Barack Obama heads west on Thursday for a political fundraising spree that will culminate in a multi-million dollar extravaganza at the home of Hollywood star George Clooney.

Obama's campaign has revved up its supporters with teases about Clooney, encouraging fans to donate even $3 online for the chance to meet the movie star and the president in Los Angeles.

Excitement over that event pre-dated Obama's revelation on gay marriage, however. Obama declared on Wednesday that he believes gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry, a position that is likely to go over especially well with the Hollywood crowd expected to fill Clooney's residence.

Tickets for the fundraiser at the Oscar-winning actor's house cost $40,000 and 150 people will attend, a campaign official said, putting the haul from those attending alone at $6 million.

Some media outlets reported more than $12 million would be raised, citing the online raffle. A campaign official said the campaign would not release the dollar figures from the raffle and any projections above $6 million were speculative.

Before his stop in California, Obama will preside over two fundraisers in Seattle, Washington.

A brunch with 70 supporters with tickets costing $17,900 will net Democrats and the Obama campaign $1.25 million, and a subsequent reception with 1,800 guests paying at least $1,000 per ticket will bring in 1.8 million or more. Singer Dave Matthews is slated to perform at the latter event.

Proceeds from all of the fundraisers go to Obama's campaign and Democratic party funds.

Obama has spent months raising money for his re-election campaign in an effort to have a huge war chest to take on the presumed Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, at the polls on November 6.

Coming out in favor of gay marriage could help him boost donations from supporters in his political base who have been pressing the president to announce the culmination of his position, which Obama had long described as "evolving."

Obama's Chicago-based campaign released a video on Thursday about gay rights and an email on Wednesday night in the president's name discussing his decision and encouraging supporters to make a donation.

(Editing by Anthony Boadle)