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President Obama leaves Southland after successful fundraiser

May 11, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
President Barack Obama left Southern California on Friday after a record-breaking fundraising event at George Clooney's lavish home.

The president boarded Air Force One at about 10 a.m. for Reno, Nev., where he will turn his attention back to the economy and promoting housing policies to help homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Mr. Obama arrived in L.A. Thursday night, welcomed by cheering crowds along his motorcade. That motorcade, however, caused a traffic nightmare for some. Several roads were closed, and there was a parking snafu. No parking signs along Laurel Canyon had the wrong date, and parking officials had to notify owners individually to move their vehicles.

The fundraiser, which was held at Clooney's home in Studio City, brought in nearly $15 million - a record for a single fundraiser. Barbra Streisand and Robert Downey Jr. were just a few famous names in attendance, with dinner whipped up by Wolfgang Puck.

The campaign event was held under a stretched transparent tent outside the home. While guests paid a whopping $40,000 a plate, nearly two-thirds of the money raised came from small online donations. Thousands of Democrats entered a raffle for as little as $3 for a chance to win one of two tickets to the fundraiser.

Mr. Obama even delivered a good-natured jab at the host. The president said his famed "Hope" poster from his 2008 campaign was derived from a photo of him sitting next to Clooney when Mr. Obama was a U.S. senator. The president joked that it was the first time Clooney had been edited out of the picture.

Angelenos had mixed views about the event, with some supporting Mr. Obama's campaign while others said they found it inappropriate that he would hold a fundraiser at a celebrity's home.

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