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Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton rolled back into Hollywood Sunday afternoon with two goals: One, of course, was to raise more money for her presidential run; the other to reassure her entertainment industry supporters — some of them increasingly unsettled — that her campaign has not begun to drift into trouble.
The center of the fundraising effort is a $2,700-per person afternoon reception at the Westside home of Rob Friedman, the co-chairman of Lionsgate’s Motion Picture Group. That event sold out, and this evening Clinton will appear at Elevate Lounge in downtown L.A. before moving on to a fundraiser at the home of San Marino pulmonologist Asif Mahmood and his wife Noshaba in the exclusive gated east San Gabriel Valley foothills community of Bradbury. All the events also will include special receptions for “bundlers” who have raised at least $27,000 for the Clinton campaign.
Despite her family’s deep and longstanding ties to Hollywood — or, perhaps, because of them — Clinton showed Sunday that she is not taking her industry support for granted. She arrived an hour early at the Friedman fundraiser, and spent “a ton of time with the VIPs,” one attendee told The Hollywood Reporter.
Supporters at the Friedman event included Homeland’s Howard Gordon, Hollywood political consultant Andy Spahn, billionaire mogul and master fundraiser Haim Saban, Lionsgate Television Group chairman Kevin Beggs and Hollywood bundler Greg Propper with his husband Michael Torbiak, communications and publicity coordinator at NBCUniversal.
Though she retains a substantial edge in overall Hollywood support — including seven-figure donors like Saban, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg — Clinton lately has had to cope with a rising anxiety over her seeming inability to get in out in front of the apparently endless string of revelations about her use of a personal email sever while Secretary of State, as well as the lingering controversies over Benghazi and suspicions that her closest aides were enmeshed in conflicts of interest.
A small, but not insignificant, group of Hollywood Democrats already have announced their willingness to support Vice President Joe Biden, if — as seems increasingly likely — he jumps into the 2016 race. Clinton, meanwhile, has launched into a campaign to “reintroduce” herself, displaying her witty, personal side on television chat shows and announcing her opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, a litmus test issue for the green band on the entertainment industry spectrum. This weekend, former President Bill Clinton went on the defensive for the former First Lady, denouncing the email controversy as the trivial product of Republican partisanship and the national media’s longing for a Democratic horse race.
In the face of such headwinds, Clinton is working hard to broaden her campaign’s base of support. Before leaving New York for Los Angeles, she attended a “Mimosas with Hillary” lunch at the home of Meredith Melling and Zach Iscol, co-hosted by one of her top Hollywood bundlers, CAA agent Michael Kives. Attendees included actress Dianna Agron, art advisor Lisa Schiff and a crowd of young Democrats drawn from the ranks of finance and high tech.
“Think about what Hillary is achieving — running against 15 Republicans, four Democrats, the national political press and the chattering class,” Kives told THR. “She’s the only one putting out real policy proposals, standing up for women and children, and still having time to smile and have fun. She’s the adult in the room, and she is going to be an amazing president.”
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