The Obama campaign's Hollywood fundraisers netted the president millions of dollars in the campaign, with an event at George Clooney's home alone bringing in $15 million, according to multiple media reports.
The celebrity hosts of these fundraisers saw the perks of political proximity, attention to their causes, and—in the case of some — face time with POTUS or tours of the White House.
Of the two dozen or so A-listers who held big fundraisers for Obama this cycle, Whispers found at least 10 of them had visited the White House before donating. Their visits are tracked in the White House visitor logs, the latest records of which were released to the public last Friday.
In this latest round of logs, Clooney is recorded as visiting the White House twice in mid-March, including for a meeting with Obama in the West Wing. Obama and Clooney reportedly discussed the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, a major cause of Clooney's.
Oprah Winfrey also scored a meeting in July with POTUS (as well as with Michelle Obama) in the Blue Room, one of the state parlors in the White House. One of the most influential women in the world, Winfrey famously gave a ringing endorsement of Obama in 2008, and hosted a fundraiser with the first lady at the former Chicago home of her Harpo Studios in September. Tickets for seats to the event sold for as high as $3,500.
In April, someone by the name of "Sean Carter" — the real name of rapper Jay-Z — brought 275 people to the White House for a group tour. While White House tours are available to the public, tours with groups that large usually aren't. Jay-Z and wife Beyonce are longtime supporters of the president, and hosted a fundraiser for him in September. Jay-Z also drew the ire of Republicans at a November rally for Obama in Ohio, where he sang "99 Problems" but replaced the word "b****" with "Mitt" for Mitt Romney.
Other musicians also appear to have gotten White House access, with at least two visits listed from Jon Bon Jovi between January and June of this year. The musician appears to have met with POTUS at least once. In October, Bon Jovi sang to more than 6,000 Obama supporters at a fundraiser in Los Angeles.
Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and Vogue Editor Anna Wintour, meanwhile, who invited Obama supporters to come dine with them and the first lady in June, both made visits to the White House several months earlier. Parker brought 122 people to an event with POTUS on the state floor of the White House in February, while Wintour was hosted on the South Lawn of the Obamas' home with hundreds of others in March.
Actor Morgan Freeman, who the Hollywood Reporter says donated $1 million to Obama this cycle and narrated an ad asking voters not to "turn back now," was at the White House at least once in February.
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