Obama at the Oscars

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Feb 20, 2007 11:13 AM

There's a huge fundraising party for Obama this week in Hollywood that's making the Clinton folks nervous:

The Democratic presidential hopeful with the rock star buzz is the guest of honour at a Beverly Hills fundraising party where the celebrity count will match Sunday's post-Oscar bashes.

The reception, hosted by Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks studio colleagues David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, is expected to draw 700 of Hollywood's most influential players, including declared Obama supporters George Clooney, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Oprah Winfrey, Oliver Stone and superagent Ari Emanuel.

It is not only a major financial fillip to the 45-year-old Illinois senator's campaign. It is also a crucial boost to his battle with the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, a favourite in Hollywood from her husband Bill's White House days.

The apparent defection of Spielberg, a long-time Clinton supporter, set off alarm bells in the New York senator's camp.

But the film director has since insisted that he has not committed to Mr Obama and has offered to co-host a future fundraiser for the former First Lady.

But Hillary has her folks as well:

Tom Hanks, Sharon Stone, Billy Crystal, Jerry Seinfeld and Martin Scorsese are likely to boost the star power.

And, even Rudy's racking a few up:

and Hollywood supporters such as the actor Adam Sandler and Paramount chairman Brad Grey attended a recent fundraiser for the former New York mayor in Pacific Palisades.

I wonder if less of a Hollywood connection doesn't do Hillary some good in the general election, provided she can raise enough money otherwise. After all, she avoids the risk of a "heart of America" moment ala John Kerry. Given the Hollywood defection, though, I wonder if she regrets spending so much on the Senate run.