March 27, 2007 / 12:48 AM / 10 years ago

Clinton doubles Obama sum in Hollywood fund-raiser

3 Min Read

<p>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.Steve Marcus</p>

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. That claim 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, has set a fund-raising goal of $15 million by March 31, the deadline for first-quarter campaign finance numbers to be reported to the Federal Election Commission in April. That would be about twice what the 2004 Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, raised in the first quarter of his White House bid.

Clinton's campaign said she has raised at least $6 million during the past week alone from a series of fund-raisers, including Saturday's event.

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. His campaign expects to raise about $8 million to $10 million, perhaps more, by the end of this month.

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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