First Lady Michelle Obama's visit to Los Angeles Tuesday and Wednesday was one of many 2012 presidential campaign trips seeking California cash.
Her most recent visit was met with some resistance because of the industry's desire for more presidential support for the Stop Online Piracy Act, according to the New York Post.
Even so, the tension seemed to have subsided for the evening Beverly Hills fundraiser for the President, which was held at the home of Ted Sarandos, Netflix's Chief Content Officer. Quincy Jones, Harvey Weinstein and Berry Gordy were among the 135 guests attending the event, which raised nearly $1 million, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The donation-raising power of a single night with Hollywood power players is the reason why presidential campaigners from both parties regularly visit our "golden" political donor state. President Obama had made seven trips to California by the end of September 2011, followed by another in October and November. And, the President and First Lady are scheduled to return to Southern California and the Bay Area February 15 and 16.
In 2011, California gave more in political donations than any other state, excluding Texas, New York and Washington, D.C., according yesterday's filings cited by California Watch. And the money is coming in large--$12 million from California in 2011--since the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 Citizen's United ruling that wealthy individuals and organizations can make unlimited political donations.
Who is getting the money? As California Watch points out, the two biggest California donors were DreamWorks executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, who gave $2 million to Obama, and former Univision CEO Jerry Perenchio, who gave $2 million to American Crossroads, a conservative fundraising group led by Karl Rove. A list of the top contributors to all presidential candidates, including Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams, is available by The New York Times here.
So the money flows in both directions. But how do the rest of Californians feel about their presidential candidate options? According to a Dec. 2011 field poll, Californians are split almost evenly between those who are inclined and disinclined to re-elect Obama. However, when the President was paired against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, he led Romney by 10 percentage points and Gingrich by 20.
For those of us who aren't coveted donors, we'll take the attention to our state if it means getting to see how strong out First Lady is in a push-up contest with Ellen and having Ms. Obama endorse worthwhile local projects like the fresh food supermarket in Inglewood (slideshow below).