In search for cash, Obama keeps an A-list cast

By Ben Feller

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, June 14 2012 12:36 p.m. MDT

The Obama campaign calls it a way to lure donors who may not otherwise be involved in politics at all. Throw in Clooney, and watch the dollars flow.

A fundraising dinner held at the star's house last month drew an eye-popping $15 million, with more of it coming from a low-dollar raffle for entry to the event than from those who paid for tickets.

That result showed how Obama's team, using Web ads and social media, is using celebrity to raise money from people who will never get in the room.

Implicit in the arrangement is that access to Obama, the president of the United States, is not enough of a draw. Obama's campaign has gone so far as to make its next "Dinner With Barack" raffle more enticing by telling would-be donors that they can help pick Obama's guest — naming Clooney and Parker as examples.

All the star wattage comes as Obama's campaign is warning supporters that they need to give or Obama could lose. Central to Obama's strategy is having a larger number of people giving small-to-medium donations. His campaign says 98 percent of donations received in May came in amounts of $250 or less.

"The other side has the money," campaign manager Jim Messina said in one appeal to donors. "They know they can buy the election if they spend it."

But Obama-friendly Hollywood has the money, too.

"There's a reason it feels like he's been here every two weeks for the last two years," Carrick, in Los Angeles, said of Obama. "Every time we turn around, there's someone on the radio telling you that you have to drive around the motorcade traffic."

Follow Ben Feller at http://twitter.com/BenFellerDC

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