Michelle Obama Cancels Los Angeles Trip Amid Government Shutdown (Exclusive)
The federal government’s ongoing shutdown has forced First Lady Michelle Obama to scrap her plans for a trip to Los Angeles on Friday, when she was scheduled to headline a $32,000-a-head political fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee at the Hancock Park home of Everybody Loves Raymond creator Philip Rosenthal and his actress wife, Monica.
The First Lady also has been forced to cancel plans to join House minority leader Nancy Pelosi for a “Woman’s Brunch” fundraiser at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Proceeds from that event—with tickets ranging from $32,000 to $500 each—were to have gone to the Democrats’ efforts to recapture the House, where they need to pick up 17 seats to reclaim their majority, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
This is the second time in a month that the White House has canceled plans for the Obamas to raise money in Los Angeles for the Democrats' efforts to hold onto its Senate majority and regain control of the House in the 2014 mid-term elections.
President Barack Obama originally was set to lead a similar Sept. 9 roundtable discussion of current issues for A-list donors at the Hancock Park mansion of Friends co-creator Marta Kauffman and her husband, composer Michael Skloff. The Syrian crisis forced cancelation of that event, though, and it was announced that the first lady, who has a considerable Hollywood following of her own, would be making a fundraising trip instead.
The highlight of the first lady’s appearance in LA was to have been an “off-the-cuff” discussion of current issues with a small group of deep-pocketed donors paying $32,000 each to sit in on the conversation. Other invited guests were set to pay between $1,250 and $10,000 for meet-and-greet and photo opportunities with the first lady, upping the DNC’s take on the evening considerably.
The shutdown now has put the whole affair on a back-burner, as even privately financed travel is a non-starter for the first family. Their normal government transport has been curtailed because of the impasse with the GOP-controlled house over its attempts to use the budget resolution to defund the Affordable Health Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.