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The Democrats may not want President Barack Obama out on the campaign trail, but they’re happy to have him at a fundraiser, which brought him back to Los Angeles Thursday and into Gwyneth Paltrow‘s backyard.
The actress introduced the president to a crowd of 200 supporters. She gushed: “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.” Paltrow also described herself as one of Obama’s “biggest fans, if not the biggest.”
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Paltrow, who was joined by her children, Apple and Moses, told the crowd: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.” She cited sustainable energy efforts as well as Obama’s push for equal pay, which she called “very important to me as a working mother.”
According to a pool report, Obama gave much of his standard fundraiser speech — “tumult” overseas that includes ISIS, Russia and Ebola, about which he said, “I want to assure everybody that the likelihood of an epidemic here in the United States is extraordinarily small, but there’s a humanitarian crisis that’s happening right now in West Africa where children not much older, and in some cases younger than Apple and Moses, are dying on the streets alone.”
He spoke of 55 months of uninterrupted job growth, investments in energy, the success of Obamacare — “and yet people remain anxious.”
“Most of the gains in our economy go to the folks who are in this lovely yard — and the average person has not seen their wages or incomes go up in the last 20 years.”
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Obama finished by making his pitch: “I hope that in these midterms you feel a sense of urgency about this — and I’m talking to you, Democrats.”
Of Democrats’ “congenital disease,” Obama said: “A, we get depressed too easily, and B, we’re terrible at paying attention to midterm elections.”
Obama also thanked Apple, Moses and Paltrow “for letting us crash your house” and noted that many of the faces in the crowd were people who had supported him since day one, “even before most folks could pronounce my name.”
After the backyard reception, Obama attended an exclusive dinner with 50 supporters, including Julia Roberts, her daughter and Bradley Whitford. Tickets for the event ranged from $1,000 to $32,400 per person.
On Friday morning, Obama will attend an ultra-exclusive Democratic National Committee fundraiser hosted by restaurateur Michael Chow and his wife, Eva Chow. The $15,000-per-person event will include a private Q&A session. The guest list was limited to 20 people, according to an email sent out over the weekend to Hollywood politicos.
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After the Chow event, Obama will travel to San Francisco for two more fundraisers.
With the November midterm elections less than a month away, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have all sought to raise more Hollywood cash amid concerns that the Democrats could lose their majority in the U.S. Senate.
Biden was in town this week for a number of fundraisers, including a cocktail reception with Nancy Pelosi at the Brentwood mansion of Fox Filmed Entertainment chief Jim Gianopoulos. The event, which included a special performance by Carole King, was co-hosted by Jeffrey Katzenberg, Peter Chernin, Barry Meyer, Hope Warschaw, John Law and James L. Brooks.