At this point in the previous presidential election cycle, Barack Obama was a Hollywood heartthrob. The entertainment industry’s ardent Democratic activists couldn’t dig deep enough into their wallets to finance his ambitious run for the Oval Office.
Today, the industry remains with the president, but the disenchantment is increasingly palpable, and even devoted Democrats are approaching his re-election campaign with all the enthusiasm of a studio contractually obligated to finance a dubious sequel.
Obama certainly is raising major money in Hollywood — $2.53 million during the first six months of 2011, with two more events scheduled for Sept. 26. As Andy Spahn, one of Obama’s chief showbiz fund-raisers, points out, “We’ve sold out every event.” Doing so, however, has required deft organization and more than a little arm-twisting. Another Obama fund-raiser described the process as “tough, tough, tough.” Four years ago, candidate Obama’s mere presence guaranteed a turn-away crowd.
But that was before Obama took office and started to compromise on issues important to industry activists.
Sure, such reliable Hollywood Democrats as George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Will Ferrell, Steven Spielberg and Peter Chernin each have donated $35,800, the maximum allowable by law, to the Obama Victory Fund.
But others have yet to loosen their purse strings, and many believe the industry has turned on Obama.