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Posts tagged ‘George Clooney’

Piers Morgan: Press ‘Quite Soft’ on Obama.


CNN’s Piers Morgan, who as a top tabloid newspaper editor in Britain for years had his reporters ask tough questions and write hard-hitting exposes, thinks the U.S. press has been too easy on the Obama administration.

“I would say actually they’ve been probably quite soft and could have gone harder. The financial crisis was inherited by the president, but he’s been there long enough to try to work it out himself. Unemployment’s still comfortably over 7 percent — really completely unacceptable,” said Morgan, 48.

Morgan — host of “Piers Morgan Live” — is the author of the justreleased book “Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney,” published by Gallery Books.

Story continues below video.

“Issues like Benghazi have exposed some of the limitations of his leading from behind on foreign policy and a lack of attention to detail in protecting the American ambassadors and serviceman around the world. There needs to be more clarity from the president about what he really stands for, what he really wants to achieve.”

Morgan also says the United States is positioned to remain the great superpower it has been for years — but must now share the title and the responsibilities that come with it with other, fast-growing nations.

“I would never bet against America. America has been a great superpower and will continue to be a great superpower and one of the key players in the world. But unlike, say, 20 years ago, it’s not the only superpower in town,” Morgan told Newsmax TV.

“We have the emerging powers of China and India, Brazil — countries like this will get stronger economically and militarily, so America won’t be the only superpower out there.

“And with that comes a shared responsibility, which is good that America won’t have to be the sole global policeman that it’s had to be before. I’m sure that Americans will be relieved about that,” Morgan said.

“You’ve got to have a better-functioning political system. You can’t have this dysfunction in Washington that means that nothing ever gets done,” he said.

‘Ever since I’ve been on air at CNN in three years, it’s been one catastrophe and crisis after another down in D.C. and nothing ever seems to get resolved. Meanwhile, the national debt is $17 trillion, a third of which is owned by the Chinese.”

Morgan’s advice to lawmakers is to “stop the squabbling, come together and sort it out.”

He said the same solution applies to the gun debate, which has pitted gun advocates and the National Rifle Association against the Obama administration and lawmakers who want further firearms restrictions.

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“You have such incendiary, extreme positions on both sides but nothing ever gets resolved, and what you need is consensus,” he said.

“You need old-fashioned politicians that can get in a room and start pump-thumping each other and get stuff done that actually suits the American national interest.”

Morgan’s book — a memoir about his career as a newsman and interviewer of some of the world’s most powerful leaders, compelling newsmakers, and top celebrities — came about thanks to a detailed journal he kept after his start at CNN, where he replaced Larry King.

“[I wanted] to put people into my shoes, really, of anchoring a cable news show in America — and indeed around the world — on some of the biggest breaking-news nights that America’s seen in a very long time, whether it was the death of Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, right up to the financial crisis and of course the horrendous mass shootings that America’s had.”

One of the more defining moments of Morgan’s time at CNN was his anti-gun stance in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

But Morgan says he is not opposed to law-abiding citizens who carry firearms.

“There are already numerous restrictions on the kind of guns that Americans can have. My argument has not been against law-abiding Americans who want to have a handgun at home to protect themselves,” he said.

“My main issue has been with the proliferation of mass shootings in America in the last six, seven years. There are many more than there used to be, the scale of them is much higher than it used to be, the ferocity is much worse.

“Sandy Hook and Aurora were two of the worst mass shootings in American history and came within a few months, and to me, it’s unconscionable the way that America, this great superpower, a country that I love, full of people that I love, just turns a blind eye to this kind of atrocity, and the politicians in Washington simply do nothing about it to try to stop it from happening again.”

Morgan said former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands a good chance of capturing the White House should she become the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

“She can be a very formidable candidate if she runs. I’m sure that she will. She’s very impressive,” he said.

“But, at the same time, if she runs on a ticket of eight years of Democratic rule where you still have unemployment at very high levels, many people suffering extreme financial hardship in America, a dysfunctional Washington, a confused foreign policy, then you’ve got an opportunity on the Republican side to win an election.”

If Republicans want to have a shot at the presidency, they must be able to stem the burgeoning civil war between the tea party and the moderates.

“Can they work out a consensus within themselves driving forward to take on the Democrats and actually win an election?” he said.

“Because, if they can’t, and they’re still split come the next election, and we’ll get a taste of this in the midterms, then I see no hope of success for Republicans. They’ve got to be united.”

Morgan said his book will give people a taste of the world’s most well-known names, both on- and off-camera.

As far as his favorite interview, it would be the Dalai Lama.

“There’s a man who’s 75, he looks 50, and one of the reasons may be he’s never taken drugs, never smoked a cigarette, never had an alcoholic drink, never had sex, doesn’t watch television, doesn’t watch movies, doesn’t listen to music,” Morgan said.

“He just meditates and prays and that’s about it, and he looks damn well on it. So, maybe the rest of us should take a lesson from the Dalai Lama: less self-abuse, more meditation.”

Morgan said he has a slightly off-kilter question he enjoys throwing at his nightly guests: How many times have they properly been in love?

“It often engenders a really good reaction. Oprah Winfrey revealed that she’d been properly in love twice . . . two people had broken her heart. And one of them, she actually kept his love letters in a safe to this very day, which was fascinating,” he said.

“But also, you can get a most surprising, if not ridiculous, response. So when I asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was still ruling Iran, I said, how many times have you been properly in love, Mr. President? He looked at me and said, after a few seconds of contemplation, I am properly in love with the whole of humanity.”

But when the question of love is turned on him by Newsmax, the twice-married Morgan isn’t quite as forthright.

“Everyone asks me that question, and like a good British gentleman, I always tap-dance the answer away,” he demurred.

“They know who they are, but I don’t really want to embarrass, perhaps, some of the ladies in my past who maybe thought they were one, but weren’t.”

Editor’s Note: Get Piers Morgan’s “Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney” from Amazon — Click Here.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann and Kathleen Walter

George Clooney Gives Props to Peter King for Shutdown Stance.


Actor George Clooney applauded GOP Rep. Peter King as one of the “guys on the right,” trying to get the government back up and running.

Speaking at the New York premiere of his new film, “Gravity,” Clooney said he knows the country is going through a tough time with the government shutdown. But the actor is optimistic that “cooler heads will prevail” and let things get back to normal.

“I know for a fact that there’s a lot of guys on the right, Peter King, for instance, and some people like that, who are also doing the best they can to stop this from happening or to put an end to it,” Clooney said.

He added: “You just hope that it happens soon.”

King has been outspoken against Tea Party Republican Ted Cruz for leading an effort to defund Obamacare as part of a budget resolution.

“This was a doomed process from the start,” King told CNN on Monday. King said he went along with a vote to defund the Affordable Care Act because he was told it would get the ball rolling and prevent the government from shutting down.

“It’s obvious now there is no end in sight,” King added. “This is a fool’s errand.”

Urgent: Do You Support Sen. Ted Cruz’s Efforts to Defund Obamacare? Vote Here.

Related:

Peter King: ‘I Can Never Forgive Ted Cruz’

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: NEWSmax.com

Mia Farrow: Obama Missing in Action on Sudan’s Genocide.


Image: Mia Farrow: Obama Missing in Action on Sudan's Genocide

By Dan Weil

President Barack Obama is shamefully doing nothing to fight the genocide being perpetrated in Sudan by its president, Omar al-Bashir, says actress and activist Mia Farrow.

“There was a time when Mr. Obama expressed outrage over the mass murder and aerial bombardment of civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan,” she writes in The Wall Street Journal along with author Daniel Goldhagen.

That was in 2007, when he sought the presidency.

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“Now President Obama has joined that silence,” the two write. “Mr. Obama has managed to avoid scrutiny about his most tragic foreign-policy failure: standing by as Sudan’s Islamic regime perpetrates a slaughter against its own citizens who belong to non-Arab ethnic groups.”

Bashir has killed tens of thousands of his own people, the pair note, adding that Obama, meanwhile, cites “humanitarian reasons to intervene in a crisis” only “when politically convenient.”

“He entered Libya ‘to prevent a bloodbath,’ despite no mass slaughter of civilians in that country. This disingenuous explanation only damaged his credibility as a humanitarian, though it did placate the international human-rights community,” Farrow and Goldhagen say, adding that Sudan merits at least the same treatment.

“An enormous number of civilian lives are at risk in Darfur. Bashir’s assaults against the people of Sudan have escalated in intensity. Some three million people are living — if you can even call it that — in refugee camps under wretched conditions.”

They say the outside world, meanwhile, doesn’t know what’s going on in Sudan because it’s not letting in outsiders, including the media.
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“There is a moral imperative to help the people of Darfur, which President Obama once articulated well,” Farrow and Goldhagen continue, referencing a statement he made in 2007 calling the “slaughter of innocents” wrong and advocating a “protective force on the ground.”

But, “those suffering in Darfur can expect no such ‘protective force’ from the U.S.,” they write.

“For reasons that are unclear, Sudan doesn’t meet Mr. Obama’s threshold for action . . . Mr. Obama has abandoned his own moral standards and left the people of Darfur to perish.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Obamacare Call Center Will Not Offer Healthcare Benefits To Employees.


20130727-002343.jpg

In order to ensure Americans understand how to access the benefits available to them when many provisions of the Affordable Care Act go online October 1, the Obama administration announced last month that it is setting up a call center that will be accessible to Americans 24 hours a day.

One branch of that call center will be located in California’s Contra Costa County, where, reportedly, 7,000 people applied for the 204 jobs. According to the Contra Costa Times, however, “about half the jobs are part-time, with no health benefits — a stinging disappointment to workers and local politicians who believed the positions would be full-time.” The county supervisor, Karen Mitchoff, called the hiring process “a comedy of errors” and said she “never dreamed [the jobs] would be part-time.”

The Times indicates that a job posting advertised all of the jobs as full-time, and one call center employee, who said no reason for the apparent change was provided, told the paper, ”It reminded me of that George Clooney movie where he goes around the country firing people (‘Up in the Air’). The woman said, ‘I know you were led to believe you would be full-time, but things have changed…You are actually ‘part-time intermittent.’”

The Contra Costa employees are currently in training, and the call center — one of three based in California — is set to go live on October 1. source – National Review Online.

by NTEB News Desk

America’s Top Catholic Blogger Says Pope Benedict Is GAY.


Men living with men

Pope Benedict XVI will officially retire at 8 p.m. tomorrow, but his retirement package is raising a few eyebrows — and resurrecting rumors about his sexuality. Rather than decamp to some monastery in Germany as many expected, Benedict will instead stay living in the Vatican.

pope-benedict-georg-ganswein-gay-lovers

Are they partners for life…or Life Partners?

CNN reports he will be living in the Mater Ecclesiae (Mother of the Church) building, which formerly housed a cloistered convent in the Vatican gardens. He will be referred to as the “emeritus pope” and keep wearing the white — though he will lose his trademark red shoes, perhaps wearing a pair of “handcrafted brown loafers” instead, the WSJ reports.

One detail that has caused particular scrutiny is that the Pope will continue to live with his trusted secretary Archbishop Georg Ganswein, who will also be head of the new Pope’s household — from the sounds of it, working two jobs.

The Vatican denies that Ganswein working for both the old Pope and the new Pope will cause any conflict of interest. But there’s a more scandalous question as well, as put forward by Andrew Sullivan, perhaps the best-known Catholic blogger in America, today:

So Benedict’s handsome male companion will continue to live with him, while working for the other Pope during the day. Are we supposed to think that’s, well, a normal arrangement?

Sulivan, a gay man himself, has raised the question of the Pope’s sexuality before (he doesn’t suggest that the Pope has acted upon his sexual urges, we should note).

In 2010 he wrote that “it seems pretty obvious to me … that the current Pope is a gay man,” and went on to describe his reasoning:

When you look at the Pope’s mental architecture (I’ve read a great deal of his writing over the last two decades) you do see that strong internal repression does make sense of his life and beliefs. At times, it seems to me, his gayness is almost wince-inducing. The prissy fastidiousness, the effeminate voice, the fixation on liturgy and ritual, and the over-the-top clothing accessories are one thing. But what resonates with me the most is a theology that seems crafted from solitary introspection into a perfect, abstract unity of belief. It is so perfect it reflects a life of withdrawal from the world of human relationship, rather than an interaction with it. Of course, this kind of work is not inherently homosexual; but I have known so many repressed gay men who can only live without severe pain in the world if they create a perfect abstraction of what it is, and what their role is in it.

Sullivan isn’t exactly alone in his suspicions. He points towards a book by Angelo Quattrocchi (playfully titled “The Pope is Not Gay”) that he felt reached similar conclusions. In addition,former Benedictine monk-priest and author Richard Sipe claims to have spoken to a number of Roman clerics and members of the Roman press corps who were “convinced” that Benedict XVI was gay.

Of course, it doesn’t help the rumors that Ganswein has become something of a star in his own right. He’s been dubbed the “The George Clooney of the Vatican,” and appeared on the cover of the Italian Vanity Fair under the headline “It’s no sin to be good looking.” Donatella Versace has even dedicated a menswear collection to him. source – Yahoo

 

George Clooney says burnings of 26 villages in Sudan a war crime, urges action.


NAIROBI, Kenya – George Clooney is trying to highlight satellite evidence from a U.S.-based anti-genocide group that 26 villages in Sudan were intentionally set on fire last month.

The American actor and activist said Thursday that destroying a village is a war crime and that the international community must counter and create consequences for such crimes.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, which Clooney helped found, said satellite imagery shows that 26 villages, food crops and grasslands were burned in a 54-square-mile (140-square-kilometre) area in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan in November.

Sudanese troops are fighting rebels who were once aligned with South Sudan. When South Sudan peacefully broke away from Sudan last year, the rebels were placed in the Sudan half of the partition.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By The Associated Press | Associated Press

Satellite images suggest Sudan arms factory was bombed: group.


UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Analysis of satellite imagery of a Sudanese munitions factory that Khartoum accused Israel of bombing earlier this week suggests the site may have been hit with aerial bombardment as Sudan claims, a monitoring group said on Saturday.

The Satellite Sentinel Project, whose founders include Hollywood actor George Clooney and the Enough Project, said it conducted a comparative analysis of DigitalGlobe imagery of the arms factory in Khartoum, where a huge explosion on Tuesday killed two people and caused a large fire.

“The imagery shows six large craters, each approximately 16 meters across and consistent with impact craters created by air-delivered munitions, centered in a location where, until recently, some 40 shipping containers had been stacked,” the group said a statement.

“An October 12 image shows the storage containers stacked next to a 60-meter-long shed,” it said. “While (Sentinel) cannot confirm that the containers remained on the site on October 24, analysis of the imagery is consistent with the presence of highly volatile cargo in the epicenter of the explosions.”

The images by themselves cannot be taken as clear evidence that the site was bombed and provides no clues as to who might have been responsible for any such bombardment.

A huge fire broke out late on Tuesday at the Yarmouk arms factory in the south of Khartoum, which was rocked by several explosions, witnesses said. Firefighters needed more than two hours to extinguish the fire at Sudan’s main factory for ammunition and small arms.

Initially, the governor of Khartoum ruled out external causes of the fire. But Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Belal Osman later told reporters that four military planes attacked the Yarmouk plant and Israel was behind it.

Israel neither confirmed nor denied responsibility for the attack.

The poor Muslim East African state, with close ties to Iran and Sunni jihadis, has long been seen by Israel as a conduit for weapons smuggled to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, via the Egyptian Sinai desert.

It is not the first time Sudan has accused Israel of attacking it.

In May, Sudan’s government said one person had been killed after a car exploded in the eastern city of Port Sudan. It said that explosion resembled a blast last year it had blamed on an Israeli missile strike.

Israel declined to comment on the May incident or the 2011 blast, which killed two people. It also neither admitted nor denied involvement in a similar incident in eastern Sudan in 2009.

The satellite images can be viewed at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/enoughproject/sets/72157631860293132/with/8126235167/

(Reporting By Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Bill Trott)

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By Louis Charbonneau | Reuters

Obama raises California cash; Romney eyes speech.


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LOS ANGELES (AP) — On a last dash for cash in the celebrity scene of California, President Barack Obama on Sunday took a good-natured shot as his own underwhelming debate performance, marveling at how his friends in the entertainment business could turn in flawless showings every time.

“I can’t always say the same,” Obama told thousands of supporters, who got the joke right away. It was Obama’s most direct acknowledgment that his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, won their debate on Wednesday as a tight race rolled into its last month.

Obama spoke at the start of two-day fundraising swing throughCalifornia, his final one out West of this election, and one that was expected to raise several millions dollars for advertising efforts to the finish. He appeared on stage after comments by actor George Clooney and performances by Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Jon Bon Jovi — and before a night-capping dinner for 150 guests at Wolfgang Puck‘s restaurant at $25,000 per person.

The Republican presidential nominee, meanwhile, sought to build on the momentum from a debate performance last week that even Democrats conceded was “masterful.” Campaigning in up-for-grabs Florida, Romney told a crowd of about 12,000 in Port St. Lucie that he had enjoyed himself, ticking off a list of Obama shortcomings he said he had exposed during the first debate.

“Now of course, days later, we’re hearing his excuses,” Romney said. “And next January we’ll be watching him leave the White House for the last time.”

As Romney finished speaking, someone in the crowd of supporters behind him held up a giant Israeli flag alongside smaller American flags, underscoring the amplified role that foreign affairs and the Middle East is playing as the presidential race draws to a close. Romney ended his day in Virginia, where on Monday he planned a major foreign policy address in which he will criticize Obama’s handling of unrest in Libya and elsewhere.

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, dismissing what she called Romney’s fourth or fifth attempt to explain his global intentions, said the bar is high for Romney to convince voters he’s prepared to be commander in chief.

“We are not going to be lectured by someone who’s been an unmitigated disaster on foreign policy every time he sticks his toe in the foreign policy waters,” Psaki said aboard Air Force One as Obama made his way to California.

Even as Romney sought to reap further rewards from his debate performance, a string of good news for the president threatened to steal the former Massachusetts governor’s spotlight.

A jobs report Friday showing unemployment at the lowest levels of Obama’s presidency was quickly followed Saturday by a fundraising report showing Obama and Democrats had raised $181 million in September. It was their best fundraising month of the campaign, but fell short of their record $190 million raised in September 2008 as the president campaigned for his first term.

Romney’s campaign has not released its report for the month, and Republicans sought to downplay Obama’s financial advantage. The party’s national chairman, Reince Priebus, said he had been counting all along on being outraised by Obama and Democrats.

“This isn’t going to come down to money. This is going to come down to heart,” Priebus said. “We’ll beat them on the ground, and we’ll have all the money we need to be competitive.”

After trailing Romney in the money race for most of the summer, Obama is back on top and pulling out all the stops to keep it that way. In what will be his final fundraising trip out West this election, Obama is enlisting his celebrity pals — from actors to singers to chefs — to donate to his campaign and encourage their fans to do the same.

The president told about 6,000 supporters at the Nokia Theatre that he had bad days and made mistakes in the 2008 campaign, too, but nobody remembers that because he won.

“We goofed up. I goofed up,” he said of 2008. “But the American people carried us forward.”

He then moved onto late-night soiree at Puck’s WP24 restaurant, which was expected to rake in $3.75 million. Former President Bill Clinton joined Obama earlier Sunday for a more intimate gathering with elite, longtime donors at the home of entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg.

As Obama played for California cash, his surrogates took to the talk shows to pound the theme that Romney’s success in last week’s debate was propped up entirely by dishonesty.

The president “was a little taken aback at the brazenness with which Gov. Romney walked away from so many of the positions on which he’s run, walked away from his record,” said David Axelrod, a top Obama strategist. “That’s something we’re going to have to make an adjustment for in these subsequent debates.”

At the same time, Ann Romney was working to soften her husband’s image, a frequent refrain as Romney’s campaign seeks to broaden his support among centrist voters in the race’s final weeks. Introducing her husband on Sunday, Mrs. Romney called him “a good and decent person” who had helped others throughout his life.

“Now we’re going to get a chance for him to really care for others, because we’re going to have the chance to see him get people back to work again,” she said.

Both campaigns were prepping their running mates for Thursday’s vice presidential debate — and working to keep expectations low lest their candidate underperform.

On Sunday Priebus called Vice President Joe Biden “a gifted orator,” while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who challenged Romney in the GOP primary, suggested Paul Ryan would hold back on any hostility out of respect for Biden’s status as a senior statesman.

Priebus spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Axelrod spoke on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and Gingrich on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

___

Associated Press Writer Josh Lederman contributed to this story from Washington. Peoples reported from Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By BEN FELLER and STEVE PEOPLES | Associated Press

Obama, on fundraising swing, jokes about poor debate.


 

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a campaign event at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles. (Larry Downing/Reu …LOS ANGELES — President Barack Obama opened a two-day fundraising swing through California on Sunday with a “30 Days to Victory Concert” starring George Clooney, Jon Bon Jovi, Earth Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Hudson. He also seemed to poke fun at his own listless debate performance last week against Mitt Romney.

“Everybody here is incredible professionals, they’re such great friends and they just perform flawlessly night after night. I can’t always say the same,” Obama said, drawing laughter and cheers from the crowd.

Looking back at 2008, Obama said, “everybody always remembers the victory, but they don’t always remember the bumps in the road.” “Things always look good in retrospect. But in the middle of it we made all kinds of mistakes. We goofed up. I goofed up. But the American people carried us forward,” he said.

About 6,000 people were on hand for the concert, and general admission tickets started at $250. The president was also to deliver remarks at a fundraising dinner with 150 guests at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s WP24 restaurant. The price of admission there was steeper:  A cool $25,000 per person.

Before the concert, Obama’s motorcade ran a gauntlet of gawkers and smartphone-camera wielders on the Avenue of the Stars, Wilshire Boulevard, and Sunset Boulevard, on the way to Hollywood power-player Jeffrey Katzenberg‘s home on Loma Vista Drive. Twelve high-dollar donors — they’ve maxed out in the 2012 campaign — were on hand to get a remarkable chance to talk to Obama and former president Bill Clinton behind closed doors.

The Obama campaign announced on Saturday that the president and the Democrats raised $181 million in September, his richest haul of the 2012 cycle but shy of the $193 million they raised in September 2008.

Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By  | The Ticket

How George Clooney helped raise $15 million for Obama: A guide.


The Oscar-winner hosts a dinner party in his backyard, the president hobnobs with A-list guests, and a record is set for the largest one-night campaign haul ever

Who do you call when you need $15 million? Apparently, George Clooney. The Oscar-winner hosted a fundraiser for President Barack Obama at his Los Angeles home Thursday night, and the event funneled a cool $15 million into the president’s re-election campaign — the largest one-night campaign haul ever. How did the former Sexiest Man Alive (who’s worked with Obama on Sudan issues for years) drum up the cash? Here, a brief guide to the star-studded affair:

What kind of party did Clooney throw? “An exclusive backyard soiree” described as “the best party ever.” The event’s 150 or so donors and celebrities sat outside Clooney’s Tudor-style home, at round tables under a tent with a transparent roof. Dinner was catered by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, and the menu included roasted duckling “Peking style” with tiny buns, a duo of lamb and beef cheek with potatoes and Brussels sprouts, and sweet corn tortelloni. President Obama delivered a 19-minute speech to guests, and table hopped for more than four hours.

Who went? Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, Salma Hayek, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Billy Crystal, Tobey Maguire, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Clooney’s girlfriend, Stacy Keibler. But not all the attendees were A-listers. Obama’s campaign held a contest in which supporters could win a spot at the dinner by donating as little as $3 to the campaign. Tens of thousands of people ponied up (an average of $23), and New Jersey science teacher Beth Topinka and Florida utility company worker Karen Blutcher won, each bringing their husband along for the trip.

How did Clooney raise so much money? The event’s price tag certainly helped. The 150 guests each forked over $40,000 to attend, amounting to $6 million. The other two-thirds of the money came from that wildly successful contest to win seats at the dinner. “We raised a lot of money because everybody loves George,” the president quipped. “They like me; they love him.”

Did Obama mention gay marriage? It’s such a “popular issue with the Hollywood crowd” that he’d have been insane not to, says Seema Mehta at the Los Angeles Times. So perhaps predictably, Obama expounded on the topic, saying that same-sex marriage is “a logical extension of what America is supposed to be.” His decision to support the divisive issue came down to a burning question, he said: “Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody and is that going to make us stronger?… I believe it does.”

Are Clooney and Obama really pals? Seems like it, says Jackie Calmes at The New York Times. “The buddy act” the two have developed “was on full display Thursday night.” Obama needled Clooney over his basketball skills: “This man has been talking smack about his basketball game ever since I’ve known him.” He also joked that the photo used for 2008’s famous Hope poster originally had Clooney in it — before the actor was cropped out: “This is the first time that George Clooney has even been Photoshopped out of a picture.”

Isn’t this all a little… over the top? Many conservatives think so, pouncing on the glitzy affair to argue that Obama is out of touch with struggling Americans. “While he’s noshing with notables, courting celebrities, and soliciting stars, the middle class is being squeezed,” says Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. Perhaps, says Jim Kuhnhenn of the Associated Press, but the A-list party still earned the president “the kind of Hollywood buzz a Republican seldom gets.”

Sources: AP, Atlantic Wire, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, NY Times

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Source: YAHOO NEWS.

By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week 

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