Harvey Weinstein became the latest Hollywood fixture to offer his time and his home for President Obama’s reelection effort by hosting a fund-raiser Monday night at his house in Westport, Conn. with the president in attendance.
The Weinstein Co. power producer played host to some 60 donors at the $35,800-a-head event, including “The Dark Knight Rises” ingénue Anne Hathaway, writer-producer Aaron Sorkin, actress Joanne Woodward, Vogue editor Anna Wintour and talk-show host Jerry Springer. The president arrived at Weinstein’s home (pictured), a white, two-story update on the New England farmhouse with black shutters and a broad lawn, around 7:30 p.m., according to a White House press pool report.
Weinstein introduced Obama with warm words and high praise as guests gathered around six tables inside, with a pair of Oscar statuettes prominently displayed on one end of the room. “Leading with your heart is the utmost for this president,” said Weinstein, who saluted Obama's handling of the recent movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo. as well as his support of women’s rights.
What’s more, said Weinstein, ever the industry player, “You can make the case that he’s the Paul Newman of American presidents.”
Obama returned the compliments in making his own remarks, singling out Hathaway and telling the room, “She’s spectacular. I got a chance to see ‘Batman,’ and she was the best thing in it,” as the actress beamed her approval.
The president was also ready with some tailor-made acclaim for Aaron Sorkin, noting that the “Newsroom” and “West Wing” creator “writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke."
And before getting down to business with his speech, Obama made a joint tribute to Woodward and her late husband, Paul Newman, declaring that "their love story and the way they helped so many people I think made them something more important than just folks in film."
As he switched his focus to the coming election, Obama returned to a refrain he has repeated many times on the campaign trail about reclaiming an American Dream that has been out of reach for many Americans since the country entered "the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression."
But by the president's estimation, thanks to his efforts in office over the past three and a half years, as well as "the extraordinary resilience of the American people, we have seen signs of recovery -- 4.5 million new jobs, half a million new manufacturing jobs, an auto industry that is reinvigorated."
Obama also touched on other big causes he pushed in his first term, such as "aggressive education reform," and a revamped health care system, recalling his recent Supreme Court victory with the upholding of the Affordable Care Act. He emphasized soft power on the world stage, claiming that "our capacity to engage with countries diplomatically is a complement to our incredible military power."
Finally, the president took aim at the opposition, blasting presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney for his fiscal policy and his emphasis on cutting taxes as well as his stance on immigration and bid to "eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood."
"We've spent three and a half years trying to make sure this country gets back on its feet," Obama said. "We have a lot of work to do, and we're not done. These gains are reversible," he warned. "On a whole host of issues, you guys are the tiebreakers."