WASHINGTON -- Let's see, what does it mean when Oprah Winfrey hosts a glitzy fund-raiser for her Chicago pal, White House hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), at her stunning California mansion?
"I know this is going to be the hottest ticket in town," said Yolanda Parker, a Los Angeles area supporter on Obama's national finance committee.
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Save-the-date e-mails for Winfrey's Sept. 8 splash at her home in Montecito, a wooded community in Santa Barbara near the Pacific Ocean, just started circulating, setting off yet another round of buzz about celebrity fund-raising in the 2008 presidential contest.
"There will be a reception and a concert with a very special guest," said Parker's e-mail to her "list" of friends.
Calls out to Foxx, Beyonce
Winfrey is taking a personal interest in lining up the entertainment. Calls are going out to Oscar-winning actor Jamie Foxx and songstress Beyonce.
To get in on the party, the maximum $2,300-per-individual contribution for the primary is being asked. Special VIP access will be given to people who raise $25,000 (they will be called co-hosts), with top bundlers of $50,000 or more to be listed as "hosts" of the event.
Obama and chief rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) have been competing for dollars from the entertainment world, each with their dueling sets of stars.
The two are mega-fund-raisers -- reports filed Sunday showed Clinton has banked $63 million so far and Obama has taken in $58.9 million for the first half of the year. They did so with a big assist from California, where they have frequently dipped into what seems like an unlimited cash well; the Golden State so far has put out $9 million for Clinton and $8.3 million for Obama.
In Beverly Hills -- that is ZIP 90210 -- Clinton has pocketed $463,675 to Obama's $257,488.