Huffpost Politics

George Clooney Obama Fundraiser Nets $15 Million

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Actor George Clooney and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) take part in a news conference in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006.
Actor George Clooney and then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) take part in a news conference in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006.

While Republicans mocked President Barack Obama for holding fundraiser at the home of George Clooney, he may be the one getting the last laugh.

The 150-person event, held Thursday night, brought in $15 million, from both ticket prices -- $40,000 per person -- and donations of $3 or more that entered donors into a raffle to win tickets to the event, according to the Los Angeles Times. Tens of thousands of donors contributed an average of $23 in hopes of winning a ticket, the LA Times reported, raising almost $10 million for the campaign.

Numerous celebrities attended the fundraiser, including Robert Downey, Jr. and Billy Crystal. The Hollywood-heavy event gave fuel to the fire that Obama is more of a celebrity himself than a politician, a drum Republicans have been beating since a prominent ad by then-candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in 2008. The Republican National Committee has continued making the point this year and attacked Obama for attending the event on Thursday evening.

"President Obama is headed to Hollywood to hobnob with celebrities while the middle class continues to be squeezed by Obama's policies," RNC Spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski said.

Whatever the criticism, the fundraiser was a huge success.

It brought in over $10 million more than most fundraising events of about the same size, in which the typical haul is between $1 million and $4 million, according to the Daily Beast.

Celebrities have also held fundraisers for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. An event held at the home of Donald and Melania Trump, of reality tv and real estate fame, brought in $600,000.

Federal Election Commission filings showed that Obama had $196,900,097 in cash on hand at the end of March, according to The New York Times.

At the Thursday night event, Obama touted his announcement that he personally supports same-sex marriage.

"Obviously yesterday we made some news," he said, according to the LA Times. "But the truth is it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be. It grew directly out of this difference in visions. Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger? Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren't like us — does that make us stronger? I believe it does. So that's what's at stake."

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