Clinton doubles Obama sum in Hollywood fund-raiser

LOS ANGELES Mon Mar 26, 2007 7:21pm EDT

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards answers a question from the audience during a health care forum at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada March 24, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards answers a question from the audience during a health care forum at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada March 24, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Steve Marcus

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Demonstrating her top billing on Hollywood's political money trail, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton collected a whopping $2.6 million at a weekend fund-raiser for her 2008 White House bid, organizers said on Monday.

The tally from Saturday's star-studded affair doubled the amount brought in by rival Democratic Sen. Barack Obama at a similar event last month and organizers said they believe it to be the single-biggest Hollywood fund-raiser for a presidential candidate. Their claim of a record could not be immediately verified.

About 700 invitees paid $2,300 each to dine with Clinton at the Beverly Hills estate of supermarket magnate Ron Burkle, a longtime supporter of the New York senator and her husband, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, according to political consultant Noah Mamet, who co-chaired the event.

About 250 of those guests coughed up an additional $2,300 per person to attend a pre-dinner VIP reception where the senator from New York posed with donors for photographs, organizers said.

Attendees included singer-actress Barbra Streisand and her husband, actor James Brolin; actor Ted Danson; "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul; Motown founder Berry Gordy and a host of media industry executives.

A day earlier, Hollywood power lawyer Skip Brittenham and his wife, actress Heather Thomas, hosted a $2,300 per person fund-raiser for Democrat John Edwards, but there was no immediate word on how much that event collected.

The Edwards event came a day after the former North Carolina senator announced he would soldier on with his campaign despite learning that his wife, Elizabeth, had suffered a recurrence of cancer.

Clinton, the Democratic front-runner in a presidential race expected to be the costliest ever, raised between $800,000 and $900,000 from her last West Coast fund-raising event, also hosted by Burkle, during her Senate re-election campaign.

Obama of Illinois, her chief rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, last month raised $1.3 million from a $2,300-per-person reception hosted on his behalf by DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

Hollywood has long played a leading role as a source of cash for Democrats seeking national office. The movie, TV and music industries gave a combined $33.1 million to federal candidates during the 2004 election cycle, mostly to Democrats, according to the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics.

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