Forward Thinking

Katzenberg's $12 Million Party for Obama

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

  • Print
  • Share Share

President Obama raised a reported $12 million for his reelection campaign at a Hollywood fundraiser at George Clooney’s home co-hosted by top Obama donor Jeffrey Katzenbeg.

The May 10 fundraiser came days after Obama announced his personal support of legal recognition for gay marriage.

Though the president stopped well short of calling for federal legislation, the shift on gay marriage was seen by some observers as helpful in his campaign’s broad effort to reassure Hollywood Democrats, who have given less than expected so far in 2012.

Those efforts seem to have paid off. The $12 million raised at the $40,000 per plate dinner is reportedly the largest sum ever gathered at fundraiser for a presidential election.

“Once again the entertainment industry has stepped forward in a very big way,” Katzenberg said in his address to the crowd, according to press reports.

Katzenberg, whom the Forward profiled last month, is the largest individual donor to the pro-Obama super PAC, Priorities USA Action. Known as Obama’s biggest supporter in Hollywood, he is likely also Obama’s biggest Jewish supporter.

Steven Spielberg, Katzenberg’s former business partner, did not attend the fundraiser, according to a spokesman. A spokesman for David Geffen, who co-founded Dreamworks with Spielberg and Katzenberg, did not respond to a request for comment on whether he had attended.

Attendees included Barbara Streisand and Billy Crystal, among other Hollywood bigs. Also in attendance was Representative Howard Berman, the Los Angeles Democrat locked in a bitter primary battle with fellow Democratic congressman Brad Sherman. According to pool reports, Berman rode with Obama from the president’s helicopter to the fundraiser.

Obama thanked Katzenberg personally, according to press pools reports. “I want to thank Jeffrey not just for this evening, but for his tenacious support and advocacy since we started back in 2007,” the president said. “Over the last three and a half years he remained an extraordinary friend.”

Obama said that Katzenberg had called him to offer criticisms during the 2008 presidential campaign. “[O]ccasionally he would call, and he would say, ‘Barack, I don’t think that things are working the way they’re supposed to.”


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: jeffrey katzenberg, hollywood, george clooney, barack obama

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.