Talent Agencies’ Tug-of-War Over Presidential Candidates

hillaryclinton2.jpgby By Sarah Ingersoll for Hollywood Today Powerful Hollywood Agencies Face Off on Presidential Candidates
Battle for Hollywood continues as poll shows public divided on role of celebrities in Politics

HOLLYWOOD, CA (rushprnews) 02/23/07 — The major entertainment talent agencies are used to fighting over the big names in film, but never have they staged a tug-of-war for the next President of the United States. Yet that’s what happened as Hollywood powerbrokers CAA, William Morris, UTA and Endeavor have all now held court with various presidential hopefuls.   Senator Hillary Clinton, undaunted by recent attacks from DreamWorks mogul David Geffen, attended a meeting with Creative Artists Agency while Endeavor hosted a reception for Senator John Edwards.    

The actions come after Barack Obama pitched at UTA and William Morris in a presidential campaign ploy termed “savvy and unprecedented” by Hollywood Today’s Political reporters. (HT 2/21).  All of this jockeying is happening despite the public’s ambivalence towards the mixing of Hollywood and politics as reported by a new CBS poll.  While the poll does not examine the issue of fundraising per se, it does offer some insight on how torn Americans are about whether Hollywood celebrities should be involved in politics.  According to the poll, 47 percent think celebrities should be involved but an almost equal number, 48 percent, believe they should not.  Interestingly, the younger you are the more likely you are to support the mix of star power and politics. The Senator was here for a series of fundraisers with supermarket magnate Ron Burkle and media mogul (no) , Haim Saban, both ardent supporters.  She also attended a meeting with the Creative Artists Agency. These events will be followed in March by another Hollywood fundraiser. 

While the Obama-Clinton battle over Hollywood has gained lots of attention, these two Senators are not alone in their courtship of tinsel town. This same week, a number of other political activities took place in the entertainment world: Former Vice President Al Gore’s name looms large in Oscar preparations and in response to his announced concert tour; Senator Joseph Biden had a Beverly Hills fundraiser; and Senator John McCain toured the Port of Los Angeles with Governor Arnold Shwarzenegger. Senator Clinton’s appearance follows some hard ball political jockeying in the news this past week. On Tuesday, David Geffen, co-founder of Dreamworks picture and long-time Clinton supporter co-hosted a fundraiser for Obama raising $1.3 million and then added insult to injury by criticizing Senator Clinton in an interview with Maureen Dowd in the New York Times. “Everybody in politics lies, but they (the Clintons) do it with such ease, it’s troubling,” he said.This set off a volley of snipes between the two campaigns: As reported by McClatchy’s Washington Bureau, “If Senator Obama is indeed sincere about his repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, he should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Geffen from his campaign and return his money. … (T)here is no place in our party or our politics for the kind of personal insults made by Senator Obama’s principal fundraiser,” said Howard Wolfson, advisor to Clinton.Obama’s spokesperson, Robert Gibbs, quipped back, “It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when he was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln bedroom.”Given the current vitriolic tone of the political battles over Hollywood, however, and with almost a year to go before the election, public opinion about the mix of Hollywood and politics is likely to become more decisive. 

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