Michelle Obama, Barbra Streisand Help Raise $700K for Democrats in L.A.
A fundraiser featuring an intimate roundtable discussion with first lady Michelle Obama at Phil Rosenthal's Hancock Park home raised nearly $700,000 for the Democratic National Committee Wednesday evening, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
The first lady, kicking off a three-day fundraising tour of California, spent several hours mingling with 200 Democratic donors gathered at the home of the Everybody Loves Raymond creator and his wife, actress Monica Horan.
Among those attending the event were Barbra Streisand and husband James Brolin, L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti, actress Doris Roberts, Tim Robbins, Paul Reiser and his family, Tennis Channel head Ken Solomon, former Motown chair Clarence Avant and his wife, Jacqueline, Democratic political affairs consultant David Wolf, and former CBS Entertainment exec John Matoian.
The event was catered by Pizzeria Mozza – the restaurant founded by Mario Batali, Nancy Silverton and Joseph Bastianich. According to a pool report, restaurant employees were spotted "loading spheres of dough into a large portable pizza oven near the garage/guest house."
According to attendees, Obama spent part of the evening talking about education and her healthy kids initiative. She also issued a warning about the upcoming midterm elections, saying the races could be tighter than people realize. While the Democrats are 17 seats away from taking back control of the House of Representatives, they're six seats away from losing control of the Senate, Obama warned.
“What I want all of you to think about for just a minute is what could happen if we lose those six seats,” saying it could mean the repeal of the ACA, interference with a woman’s ability to obtain contraception, the banning of same-sex marriage, and cutting off unemployment insurance, according to a pool report on the first lady's comments. “That’s just the beginning," she said. "Thirty-seven governor’s seats are up for grabs, nearly three quarters of our statehouses. We’ve got state legislatures in play, and remember, these are the folks who draw those congressional districts.”
She added: “So starting right now, today, we need to be as passionate and as hungry as we were in 2008 and 2012; in fact we need to be even more passionate and more hungry, because these races will be even harder and even closer than those presidential elections.”
The first lady posed for photos with donors paying $1,000 to attend a backyard reception at the Rosenthal mansion. Later, at a $32,400-per-person roundtable discussion in the Rosenthals' home theater, Obama reiterated her warning on the upcoming midterms.
"She was very frank," said one person at the event. "She said, 'This is where it counts.'"
During her time in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Obama also taped an interview with Ryan Seacrest. The segment, focusing on the importance of healthy eating and exercise, will air on Seacrest's nationally syndicated show on Thursday.
Obama will spend the rest of her California trip in San Francisco, where she is scheduled to attend two additional fundraisers.