Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a star-studded fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee Thursday night in Los Angeles, with President Barack Obama serving as guest of honor. Among the famous faces seen arriving at Paltrow’s Brentwood home were Julia Roberts and “The West Wing” star Bradley Whitford.
Mr. Obama arrived at the Oscar-winning star’s house in the upscale Mandeville Canyon neighborhood at 5:24 p.m. He greeted and interacted with Paltrow before she introduced him to her guests, who sat on folding chairs, while eating summer rolls and sipping from flutes of champagne.
“I am your — one of your biggest fans — if not the biggest and I have been since the inception of your campaign,” Paltrow said from her backyard. “The life you brought to this country and the passion … historically, I think this will be one of the most important and most scrutinized and looked at campaigns and presidencies of all time.”
The actress stressed the importance of Democrats taking control Congress next month in the midterm elections. “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she said before flirting with the President. “I’ll shut up now and just say welcome … and you’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”
After a bit of joking around about missing the last fundraiser that Paltrow hosted for his re-election campaign in London — the President gave a 25 minute speech on more serious topics including ISIS and Ebola.
“I want to assure everybody that the likelihood of an epidemic here in the United States is extraordinarily small,” he told the crowd. “But there’s a humanitarian crisis that’s happening right now in West Africa where children not much older, and in some cases younger than Apple and Moses [Paltrow’s children] are dying on the streets alone.”
He also stressed the importance of voting in the upcoming elections, where control of the Senate is up for grabs, with Democrats in danger of losing their majority.
Mr. Obama then addressed what he calls the “congenital disease” among his base, wherein “a) we get depressed too easily, and b) we’re terrible at paying attention to midterm elections.” He added, “I hope that in these midterms you feel a sense of urgency about this — and I’m talking to you, Democrats.”
Donors attending the event paid $1,000 for the cocktail reception, while tickets for the dinner afterward were listed at $15,000. About 200 people attended the reception and 50 were set to dine with the President.
Mr. Obama first touched down at Los Angeles International Airport Thursday at 1:55 p.m.
His first stop was a visit to Cross Campus — an organization dedicated to helping startups and entrepreneurs succeed — in Santa Monica. After arriving at 2:38 p.m., he received a tour of the campus and gave a town hall-style speech on the economy.
The President wrapped up his visit to Cross Campus then made a surprise stop at a phone bank in Venice for congressional candidate and California State Senator Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).
The President will remain overnight in Los Angeles, and attend a Friday morning fundraiser for the DNC ahead of the 2014 midterm elections at restaurateur Michael Chow’s home. Also on Friday, he will travel to and designate a portion of the San Gabrial Mountains as a national monument in San Dimas, Calif.
As always, Mr. Obama’s visit will be accompanied by extensive street closures in and around the areas he will be visiting. In addition to closures, the Metro Bus Orange Line route 302/2 on Hilgard Avenue between Le Conte and Weyburn Avenues will be canceled from 11:00 a.m. on Oct. 9 through 4:00 p.m. on Oct. 10.
Ira Teinowitz contributed to this report.