Obama Young Hollywood Event Adds Hosts

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Obama's shift on gay marriage has dramatically energized gays and lesbians to raise money for the president's re-election -- especially in Hollywood.

More than 40 celebrities and entertainment industry executives -- including "Avengers" actor Clark Gregg and Gobbler CEO Chris Kantrowitz -- have now signed up to co-host the campaign's Gen44 fund-raiser Friday at the Soho House in West Hollywood.

The number of celebrities and entertainment industry executives who have signed on to host the Obama re-election campaign’s young Hollywood fundraiser has swelled to more than 40, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Among those who now have joined the reception’s host committee are What's Your Number producer Beau Flynn, The Avengers actor Clark Gregg, actress Jennifer Grey, BrewPR founder Brooke Hammerling, The Virgin Suicides producer Chris Hanley, Gobbler CEO Chris Kantrowitz, TV producer Daniel Kellison, actor Donovan Leitch and One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush.

Aside from helping to draw a bigger crowd, host committee members -- who also include David Fincher, Zach Braff and Maria Bello -- committed to donate at least $2,500 to the Obama campaign. Friday’s event, which follows a private meeting the president held in Beverly Hills with a cross section of young celebrities, is being organized by actor Jared Leto and now is set for Soho House, the exclusive West Hollywood venue owned by former Bill Clinton pal Ron Burkle. Single tickets are just $500, so expect a good-sized crowd.

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The event is part of the re-election campaign’s Gen44 outreach program to younger voters, and clearly the Obama folks think they’ll be addressing a crowd of political junkies. The campaign headquarters announced it will be sending three key -- but inside-politics -- staff members to talk with the young industry supporters, including Harper Reed, the re-election effort’s chief technology officer; David Sima, its director of opinion research; and Mitch Stewart, who directs Obama’s efforts in the so-called battleground states. From that roster, it’s clear the president’s people will be pitching young Hollywood on the importance of its support as the campaign moves into its most intensely competitive months.

Although the initial announcement on the event did not state who from the Obama campaign would attend, members of the host committee said they never expected the president to come.

"He was never slated to appear. Ever," said one event organizer. "There was not even a discussion or pitch to him. This was a grass-roots effort put together over the past few weeks."

One difference between traditional Hollywood fund-raising receptions and young Hollywood’s version already is clear: Most events of these types are scheduled early enough -- say, 6 p.m. -- to qualify for the seniors’ discount at Denny's; the Soho House reception begins at a fashionable 9 p.m.