Local Pool Report
Obama Victory Fund Dinner
Los Angeles Music Center
Barack Obama spoke shortly before 7 p.m. to a crowd of about
700 donors from a stage set up in the mezzanine lobby of the Dorothy
Chandler Pavilion. Most stood just in front of the stage; a couple
hundred watched from behind glass railings on two upper balconies. Three
giant crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling.
National pool is providing Obama remarks.
On stage with Obama was a black Steinway & Sons grand piano.
Behind him were a U.S. flag and a California flag, along with a dark
blue curtain backdrop.
Among the celebrities in the crowd were actors Dennis Quaid,
Samuel Jackson, Don Cheadle, retired boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and
Jennifer Beals. Also there was former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry
Dennis Quaid introduced Seal. "He's here tonight to sing for
the superman for everyone - Barack Obama," Quaid told the crowd.
Seal, dressed in a black suit, sang two songs. The first,
with a piano accompanist, was a ballad, "Kiss from a Rose." The second,
with recorded accompaniment of a full band, was a 1964 r&b tune, "A
Change is Gonna Come."
In remarks introducing "A Change is Gonna Come," Seal
recalled growing up in England, watching Elvis films and "Happy Days."
After 18 years in America, Seal said, the U.S. is still "the greatest
country in the world." But in some ways, the country is holding on by a
thread, he said.
"At last, someone has come along that is restoring my
faith," Seal told the crowd.
Cheadle, who was watching from the balcony, said of Obama:
"He's my candidate, and I think you have to put your money where your
Also watching from the balcony was will.i.am, producer of
the "Yes We Can" video tribute to Obama. He was dressed in a white suit.
Obama, he said, made it "over the hill" by winning the
Democratic nomination. "Now we're in a valley, and we got a bigger hill
"I'm just blessed to call to action, led by inspiration."
Obama was introduced by Karen Bass, the California Assembly
Donors sipped wine and bottled water. Waiters wearing black
vests, white shirts and black ties served hors d'oeuvres: endive spears
of brie, toasted almonds and truffle oil; tuna tartare with passion
fruit ponzu and macadamia nut on wonton crisp; beef short rib skewers
with Asian flavors.
Mingling in the crowd were Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev
Yaroslavsky and L.A. City Councilmen Herb Wesson and Richard Alarcon.
California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown told reporters outside
that Obama had spoken earlier (before the pool was brought inside) to
about 300 people, including some prominent Clinton supporters.
Among them, Brown said, were L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
and John Emerson, a former Clinton White House aide and one of her
biggest California fund-raisers.
The fundraiser was a two-tiered event. Tickets were $2,300
per person. VIP tickets were $28,500 per couple. VIP guests were able to
attend a dinner with Obama before the general reception.
The money was split between Obama for America, which could
accept individual donations of up to $2,300 for the primary and $2,300
for the general, and the Democratic National Committee. The DNC could
accept individual contributions of up to $28,500.
Springsteen's "The Horizon" played after Obama spoke.
Feel free to call if any questions; will be boarding flight
for Chicago shortly, so sooner the better.