Obama, ‘the Paul Newman of American presidents’
By David Nakamura,
WESTPORT, Conn. — Leave it to a Hollywood mogul to tag President Obama with a Hollywood moniker.
Obama showed up at the lush farmhouse-style vacation estate (measuring a reported 8,900 square feet) of movie producer Harvey Weinstein to raise campaign cash, speaking to a group of about 60 supporters who had paid $35,800 apiece for a seat in a barn-like dining room. The who’s who included actresses Anne Hathaway and Joanne Woodward, Vogue editor Anna Wintour, talk show host Jerry Springer and screen writer Aaron Sorkin. Pictures of Weinstein with actor Tom Cruise and other stars were lined up on a shelf, along with two golden Oscar trophies.
Introducing the president, Weinstein said that “leading with your heart is the utmost” for Obama, adding that he fought to protect Planned Parenthood and to protect women’s rights.
Obama, he said, can take a punch.
“You can make a case that he’s the Paul Newman of American presidents,” Weinstein said.
When it was his turn, Obama praised his hosts. He said of Hathaway’s latest movie: “She’s spectacular. I got a chance to see ‘Batman,’ and she was the best thing in it. That’s just my personal opinion.”
The actress, sitting just a few feet from where the president was standing, beamed and laughed. Of Sorkin, creator of “The West Wing,” the president said he “writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.”
Obama then launched into his stump speech.
“We’ve spent three and a half years trying to make sure this country gets back on its feet,” Obama said. “We have a lot of work to do, and we’re not done. These gains are reversible. On a whole host of issues, you guys are the tiebreakers.”