Obama back to Cali in July for Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes event


Singer Usher Raymond, left, and actress Kerry Washington with then-Sen. Barack Obama at a rally on the campus of South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, S.C., on Jan. 22, 2008. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)

The Obama White House has dealt with its share of scandals lately.

If the president wants advice on spinning his administration’s woes, he can turn to a famous fixer for counsel— or at least someone who plays the part quite dramatically on television.

Next month, President Obama will travel (again) to Southern California, where the money flows and the golf is great, to raise money for the DNC at the home of “Scandal” creator Shonda Rhimes. And yes, Kerry Washington (aka Olivia Pope) will be there, too.

To merely be in the presence of Washington and Obama costs $1,000 (or you can raise $5,000). It’s $10,000 (or raise $20,000) for the reception and a photo with Obama. To get the picture and eat dinner in the same room as Obama is $20,000, and to co-host, which gets you all of the above plus your name on the invitation, is $32,400, according to an invitation made public by the Sunlight Foundation.

The DNC confirmed the event.

Rhimes’s Los Angeles address is available upon RSVP (and probably after the check is deposited), and a “performance” (presumably a musical guest) is listed as TBD. The July 23 party will mark the fourth time that Obama has visited California this year. He’s spent more than 40 days in the state over his presidency, according to a database of presidential travel built by Brendan Doherty, an associate professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy.

Washington has been a faithful Obama supporter since early in the 2008 campaign. But while the first lady is a fan of the show, which depicts a flawed president having an affair with a campaign adviser/D.C. fixer, the president had – as of March – never watched it, he told Ellen DeGeneres on her talk show. But he assured her that television politics is far more interesting than the real thing.

“If you followed me, most of my day is sitting in a room listening to a bunch of folks in gray suits talking about a bunch of stuff that wouldn’t make very good television,” Obama said in the interview.

Of course, that was aired before Obama took to the streets of Washington and started referring to himself as a “bear.”

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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