Michelle Obama Kicks Off L.A. Fundraising Tour at Gwen Stefani's House
UPDATED: The First Lady is in town for three fundraisers, including one at Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer's house. She'll also appear on the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Monday.
Kicking off a two-day fundraising tour of Los Angeles, First Lady Michelle Obama arrived at Gwen Stefani's Beverly Hills home Sunday afternoon for a "family day," complete with face painting and balloon sculptures for the kids.
Tickets for the event, which was hosted by Stefani and members of her band, No Doubt, started at $2,500 for a family of four. Approximately 400 people were on the guest list, according a campaign official. Following the fundraiser, Obama was set to attend a reception at Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer's home, with tickets ranging from $2,500 to $25,000. On Monday, the First Lady will attend a luncheon fundraiser in Ladera Heights before taping a segment for the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
"Barack can't do it alone," Obama told the crowd of parents and younsters at Stefani's house. "He's not Spider-Man. He's not a superhero. He's a human, so we need your help. I am not just talking to the adults here today. I am talking to the young people here as well. All of our young people--you might not be old enough to vote. You vote at school, I know--I met several young people who are going to be voting for my husband, who are 10 and under--we accept those votes," she said, to cheers and laughter. "But you can play an important role in this election, too. I want you all to feel empowered."Stefani and No Doubt members tweeted their enthusiasm for the First Lady's visit.Obama's visit to Hollywood comes on the heels of Mitt Romney's announcement that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be his running mate. Industry politicos are hopeful that a Romney-Ryan ticket will prompt Hollywood holdouts to donate to the president's reelection campaign.
Drummer Adrian Young wrote: "On our way to meet the First Lady! Life in (No Doubt) land gets more strange and wonderful everyday."
Afterwards, guitarist Tom Dumont wrote: "Just met the First Lady! @michelleobama -wow she is so warm and sincere."
L.A.-based handbag designer Clare Vivier sent out a photo over Twitter of Stefan and Obama with the message: "Power women." [See the photo at the end of this post.]
From 1 pm pool report:
Proceeds from the events will benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties.
The white, minimalist house has unobstructed views of the San Fernando Valley. Out back, there is an infinity hot tub that spills over into a vast infinity pool. Surrounding the pool are a half a tables covered with white tablecloths and accompanied by white umbrellas. There are also about a dozen picnic tables, also with white umbrellas. It is unusually warm (91 degrees), and several jugs of ice water have been set up near the tables.
The event has been billed as a "Sunday of Fun," and on one side of the house is a hardcourt tennis court, which has been decorated for the event with bridge of red, white and blue balloons arranged in the form of an American flag. Various stations are set up on the tennis court, where children can get fake tattoos and balloon animals. Staff are dressed in black-and-white striped shirts; one wears a hat shaped like a hot dog, another a straw hat surrounded by fake flowers.
Between the tennis court and the pool is a separate structure that houses a gym with treadmills and other machines. A transparent podium is positioned at the top of the steps leading up to the gym.
From 3:17 pm pool report:
The tone of the event is very casual, with most guests wearing sundresses or shorts and many in straw hats.
"Do Not Enter" signs are taped to the glass surrounding the pool. Platters of roasted meats, including steak and chicken, as well as trays of cookies and fresh fruit can be seen coming from the kitchen.
Many children are clutching balloon animals or pieces of paper reading, "High-Five for President Obama!" with an area underneath for a child to make an impression of his or her palm.
At 1:50pm, pool is taken from holding spot to the back deck of the home, where Mrs. Obama's speech is already in progress. Pool was not permitted to listen to Ms. Stefani's introductory remarks.
Mrs. Obama is wearing a sleeveless navy dress with detailing around the waist (pool is not close enough to determine whether it is a belt) and flat sandals with silver detail. She has several bracelets on her right hand.
Ms. Stefani and her bandmates from No Doubt, including Tony Kanal, are seated on folding chairs on the upper portion of the patio. Ms. Stefani is wearing a sleeveless hot pink peplum top, matching hot pink skinny pants, black leather stilettos with spike heels and several chunky silver bracelets. Her hair is arranged in a top knot.
Foliage with pink and white flowers snakes up the side of the house, behind the seating area for Ms. Stefani and her bandmates.
Ms. Stefani's children--Kingston, 6 years old; and Zuma, 3 years old (both boys)--are in attendance. Her husband, singer Gavin Rossdale, is on tour in Europe, according to a campaign official.
Many of the No Doubt bandmates have their children on their laps.
The crowd is gathered on the lawn next to the pool, which is blocked off with temporary white fencing. Among the guests your pool reporter can spot are Nicole Richie and husband Joel Madden, actor Jeffrey Tambor and actress Alyson Hannigan.
During Mrs. Obama's remarks, many children are sitting on their parents' shoulders, and balloon animals can be seen waving in the crowd. Ms. Richie and Mr. Madden each are holding one of their two children.
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