Obama to L.A. Concert Crowd: Everything Is on the Line
Following a two-hour private meeting with donors at Jeffrey Katzenberg's Beverly Hills manse Sunday afternoon, President Barack Obama made his way to downtown Los Angeles to address 6,000 supporters who had gathered for a star-studded concert at the Nokia Theatre.
"Everything we fought so hard for in 2008 is on the line in 2012," Obama told the crowd. "And I need your help to finish what we started. I need your help."
He added, "If there’s one thing I know, we’ve come a long way, and we’ve come too far to turn back now."
The president made a veiled reference to his shaky performance at the recent debate in Denver. While complementing the musical acts that performed at Sunday night's event, Obama said: "They just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same."
The concert, which culminated with Obama's appearance, featured Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder, Jennifer Hudson, Earth Wind & Fire and Jon Bon Jovi. Perry set off a storm of Instagram postings on Twitter when she performed "Firework" while wearing a Stars and Stripes cape. She also donned faux fingernails featuring red, white and blue stripes and photos of Obama.
George Clooney, wearing a suit and tie, made a special appearance onstage to introduce Wonder. He joked briefly about Clint Eastwood, saying that sometimes celebrities can hurt candidates more than they can help.
The concert, one of Obama's biggest events this election season, was executive produced by veteran special events producer Ken Ehrlich and organized by the campaign's Entertainment Advisory Council, led by producers Eric Ortner and Bruce Roberts.
Afterward, Obama headed to Wolfgang Puck's WP24 restaurant for a $25,000-per-plate dinner organized by Katzenberg. (The Los Angeles events are expected to raise at least $5 million for the campaign.)
At WP24 -- on the top floor of the downtown Ritz-Carlton -- about 150 attendees were seated around a dozen tables in a dimly lit room when Obama arrived. The crowd included Clooney, Bon Jovi, Harvey Weinstein, Seth MacFarlane, Jim Gianopulos, Michael Lynton, Chuck Lorre, Burt Bacharach, Marta Kauffman, Tom Rothman, Michael Smith, James Costos, Tim Leiweke and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.
Obama began by thanking Ken Solomon and John Emerson -- the DNC's Southern California finance co-chairs -- before paying special tribute to Katzenberg and his wife Marilyn.
"They have been tireless and stalwart and have never wavered through good times and bad, since my first presidential race, back when a lot of people still couldn’t pronounce my name,” he said.
With 30 days left in the race, Obama told the dinner guests that for him the election is not about “clinging on to an office. It’s not about power. It’s not about perks. It’s not about winning. It’s about can we sustain over the next 30 days and then over the next four years … the sense that there’s something about this country that allows everybody to get a fair shot.”
He continued: “It doesn’t guarantee people’s success. … But the idea that in this country everybody counts and that for all our individual initiative and self-reliance we also do some things together as one people and one nation. That’s what the next 30 days is about. And that’s why I intend to win."