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Movie mogul Weinstein to host Obama fundraiser in Westport

Updated 11:38 am, Tuesday, July 24, 2012
  • President Barack Obama, waving during a campaign stop Monday in California, is scheduled to visit Westport next month for a $38,500-a-head fundraiser. Photo: Paul Sakuma, File Photo / AP
    President Barack Obama, waving during a campaign stop Monday in California, is scheduled to visit Westport next month for a $38,500-a-head fundraiser. Photo: Paul Sakuma, File Photo

 

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A bucket of movie popcorn and Raisinets all of a sudden look like a bargain.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein will open his Westport waterfront estate for a $35,800 per head fundraiser for President Obama's re-election next month, reciprocation for the coveted State Dinner invite he received earlier this year from the White House.

Obama will then be whisked off to a fundraiser in Stamford, where tickets are expected to go for $500 a pop.

State Democratic Chairwoman Nancy DiNardo confirmed that both events are on the political calendar for Aug. 6.

"It's always exciting when the president comes to Connecticut," DiNardo said Friday.

A message seeking comment from Weinstein, who owns adjacent lots on Burying Hill Beach worth a combined $15.5 million, was left Friday with a publicist at his production company.

The state's top Republican panned the presidential visit, saying that Obama should spend less time hobnobbing with celebrities and more time concentrating on the troubled economy.

"President Obama has clearly checked out of the leadership business," Connecticut GOP Chairman Jerry Labriola Jr. said. "While our nation's economy is slipping back into recession under his misguided policies, Obama spends most of his time at swank fundraisers and improving his golf game."

The Democratic State Central Committee plugged both events in an internal email Thursday to party officials.

The Stamford Marriott Hotel & Spa will likely be the venue for the second fundraiser, though the details are still being hashed out.

In Connecticut, Obama enjoyed a 52 percent approval rating in the most recent Quinnipiac University poll done in June.

"I can only assume that the president is still very popular in Connecticut," DiNardo said.

A portion of the proceeds from the Weinstein affair is expected to also go to the Democratic National Committee since individual political contributions to federal candidates are capped at $2,500 for the primary and $2,500 for the general election.

Weinstein is co-founder of Miramax Films and co-chairman of the Weinstein Co.

The Oscar-winning producer of "Shakespeare in Love" is part of a left-leaning Hollywood glitterati loyal to Obama.

In Aug. 2011, Weinstein passed the hat for the president during a fundraising dinner at his row house in New York City's West Village attended by the trend-setting Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

No word on whether Wintour, who is also a major bundler for Obama, will be on the guest list.

"I would imagine she is," DiNardo said, couching it that she couldn't be sure.

Weinstein predicted that Obama will be re-elected in November during a morning talk show appearance last month.

DiNardo wouldn't go so far as to characterize Connecticut as Hollywood East, however.

"It is my understanding that there are going to be a variety of people there at this event at Harvey Weinstein's house," DiNardo said.

At a time when Republicans are trying to make political hay over Obama's own party members skipping the Democratic National Convention, it could be telling which pols show up for the fundraisers and which ones don't.

Both fundraisers will take place in the 4th Congressional District, which is represented by Jim Himes, a Democrat in his second term from Greenwich who is up for re-election.

"The congressman plans to attend the president's events in Connecticut," said Elizabeth Kerr, a spokeswoman for Himes.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said he didn't know if the first-termer would be attending because he hadn't received the details for either event.

Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy's office also could not confirm whether he would be attending either.

Drew Marzullo, a Democratic selectman from Greenwich, embraced the president's upcoming visit.

"It has been no secret that I have been in communication with the Obama campaign trying to set up an appearance or fundraiser involving the president or first lady," Marzullo said.

"So, if and when this happens, they can count on me and my support seeing to it that this is a very successful event."