Young Hollywood Wooed by Presidential Hopefuls

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Candidates vying for president are courting members of Hollywood that reach younger voters. N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton is throwing a fundraising party at the home of director Brett Ratner, whose guest lists have included actresses Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton. He's behind the Rush Hour action-movie franchise and last summer's X-Men:The Last Stand.


There's another crowd that the presidential candidates are beginning to woo: young Hollywood, still up for grabs. Last month, Senator Obama hits Sunset Boulevard for a fundraiser at a very hip party spot Boulevard 3. Tonight, Senator Hillary Clinton will have her own star-studded fundraising event geared toward a generation that's new to presidential politics. It's at the home of director Brett Ratner. He's the man behind the "Rush Hour" action movie franchise and last summer's "X-Men: The Last Stand". Ratner is also known for throwing wild parties at his Beverly Hills mansion.

Mr. TED JOHNSON (Editor, Variety): I would tell you that it's almost like a mini version of the Playboy Mansion. There are a lot of parties that take place up there.

MONTAGNE: That's Ted Johnson. He's an editor at Daily Variety. He also writes about the colliding worlds of entertainment and politics at the blog called, "Wilshire & Washington." Johnson says Brett Ratner's parties are better known for guest lists that would include Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton.

Mr. JOHNSON: It's almost like all roads lead to Brett Ratner when you talk about Hollywood's social scene and Hollywood's nightlife scene.

MONTAGNE: The site of tonight's Clinton's fundraiser is known as Hill Haven Lodge. The estate has been home to Ingrid Bergman, James Caan and Kim Novak. A producer who later owned the house installed a disco in the basement. Ratner and his house have even made a cameo appearance on HBO's "Entourage" this season. That's the show that follows the exploits of a fictional A-list actor and his friends. In this scene, models sip cocktails in bikinis while Ratner pokes fun at his reputation as a lady's man.

(Soundbite of TV show, "Entourage")

Mr. BRETT RATNER (Director): (As himself) Marcy(ph) you have the best (bleep) in the world. If they get out a little, great, excellent. Put your leg up on the motorcycle. I love it.

Unidentified Man: (unintelligible).

Mr. RATNER: Brilliant. Do me a favor. Why are there Krispy Kreme donuts here? I don't understand. These are supermodels, not Teamsters.

MONTAGNE: The planning committee for tonight's very real Hillary Clinton fundraising party includes Eva Longoria, Christina Aguilera and Will.i.am from the Black Eyed Peas. And the price tag? At $250, it's actually affordable compared to swankier political events. Ted Johnson at Daily Variety said this is a new direction for the political campaigns.

Mr. JOHNSON: What you're seeing right now is they are seeking other pools of money, and that means reaching out to young Hollywood.

MONTAGNE: After Barack Obama partied at the hit L.A. nightclub, celebrity magazine Us Weekly asked its readers, between Clinton and Obama, quote, "who do you think is more fun to party with?" Barack Obama came in at 70 percent. But after Hillary Clinton makes her appearance at Hill Haven Lodge, who knows what does poll numbers could do.

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