Actor George Clooney is hosting a fundraiser for President Barack Obama May 10, and the Obama campaign is devoting a level of attention to the event generally reserved for matters of state.
details a series of communications to potential donors sent out by Obama campaign officials and the president himself to leverage the Clooney appearance into more contributions.
It began April 19, with an e-mail from Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Julianna Smoot titled “Clooney.” That e-mail stated, “Want to meet George Clooney and Barack Obama — at Clooney’s house? He’s hosting supporters at his home next month to help build support for this campaign and elect President Obama in November. And he’s saving seats for two grassroots supporters like you and their guests. It’s just not a chance most people get — well, ever.”
A day later, the Obama campaign’s national finance director, Rufus Gifford, sent an e-mail titled, “George Clooney. Really.” On April 23, the campaign’s chief operating officer, Ann Marie Habershaw, sent an e-mail with “Some advice about George Clooney.” Finally Obama himself weighed in with an April 24 e-mail headlined, “Clooney and me.
There were at least four tweets on @BarackObama promoting the event. “Dinner with the President at George Clooney’s house. Chip in $3 now for a chance to win,” one tweet read.
The breathless promotion drew satire from the media. “In case you haven’t received the tweets, e-mails, and texts, GEORGE CLOONEY IS HOSTING A PARTY FOR OBAMA,” New Yorker writer Ryan Lizza quipped on Twitter.
Ron Bonjean, a Republican consultant, sees some danger for Obama in all this. “Playing up the celebrity angle can help bring in campaign donations, but the Obama campaign is falling into the trap of portraying the president as an out-of-touch Hollywood liberal to hardworking independent battleground voters,” he told Politico.
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