Obama and Leno screen grab
When President Obama dropped off the news radar last night in the Valley, he didn't just go to bed and watch Showtime or Evelyn Taft. (Oh wait, they are not on most TVs in Los Angeles this week. Compliments of Time Warner Cable.) The White House pool report says that Obama had a private dinner at the Hilton in Woodland Hills with Jeffrey Katzenberg, the DreamWorks executive who bundled a gazillion dollars in Hollywood for Obama's reelection. Katzenberg, a Wendy Greuel backer for mayor, may also be the reason that Obama did not publicly endorse Eric Garcetti but that's another story. The White House offered no other details about Obama's conversation with Katzenberg or anyone else he spoke with while in the 818 — or even why Woodland Hills. Although the Woodland Hills Hilton might stand on or just outside the former Harry Warner ranch (of Warner Bros. fame), the closest current Hollywood institution to Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard is probably the Motion Picture Country Home.
In any case, Hollywood Reporter politics writer Tina Daunt sounds a bit irked. She often gets advance word of Obama's plans when he is in town.
Obama's dinner with Katzenberg is not the first time he scheduled a private meeting with the studio chief while traveling through Los Angeles.
In October 2012, when Obama was scheduled to attended a fundraiser concert in downtown Los Angeles, his campaign made a special trip before the show to Katzenberg's Beverly Hills estate, where President Bill Clinton and at least 12 deep-pocketed Democratic donors had gathered for a private lunch.
At the time the town was rife with rumors that the meeting was in fact a fundraiser for Priorities USA, with two campaign finance committee members telling THR that they were kept out of the loop on the closed-door event because it involved super PAC business. (Tickets to the lunch reportedly started at $100,000 according to one source.) However, a campaign spokeswoman flatly denied that the meeting involved the super PAC.
Members of the White House traveling press corps were allowed to accompany the president to Katzenberg's mansion, but they were kept in the garage for two hours....
Keeping the traveling press corps out-of-the-loop about Obama's private meetings in Los Angeles has become a tradition of sorts.
On Twitter last night, Daunt ranted a little: "So tired of Obama's secret meetings with people in Hollywood every time he comes to LA. PUBLIC HAS A RIGHT TO KNOW."
Previously on LA Observed:
Is Obama the first president to sleep in Woodland Hills? (video)