*Sean Penn is not mincing words about his view of the Tea Party, accusing the ultra-conservative moment of being motivated primarily by a racist agenda.
During his appearance Friday on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” the actor said he believes the Tea Party exists only to get President Obama out of the White House and that its members don’t know much about the issues themselves.
“You have what I call the ‘Get the N-word out of the White House party,’ the Tea Party; this kind of sensibility, which is much more of a distraction,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it: If you ask any representative of the Tea Party, ‘OK, Social Security, socialist, get rid of it?” they’re going to get very confused. At the end of the day, there’s a big bubble coming out of their heads, saying, ‘Can we just lynch him?” [Scroll down to watch.]
Penn’s remarks echo similar comments made by Morgan Freeman last month, also on “Piers Morgan Tonight.”
The “Dolphin Tale” star then said that the Tea Party’s “stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. What … underlines that? Screw the country. We’re going to do whatever we do to get this black man … outta here.”
*The Obama Campaign has added a second event to the president’sOct. 24 fund-raising trip to Los Angeles that was initially to involve only a Latino fundraiser, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The new event will be a $35,800-per-person dinner at the Hancock Park home of “Hitch” producer James Lassiter and his wife, Mai, anc co-hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith; Troy Carter (Lady Gaga’s manager) and his wife, Rebecca; and Def Jam senior vp Jay Brown and his wife, Kawanna, head of Magic Johnson Enterprises.
Immediately following is Obama’s Latino fundraising gala at the nearby home of Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas.
Obama will go “table to table, sitting and conversing with each group of guests. He will address the group as a whole, informally and will take several questions from guests,” notes the Hollywood Reporter. Candid photos will be taken with all dinner guests.
The two events are expected to raise more than $1 million for the Obama re-election campaign.
The addition of the Lassiter event comes in the wake Thursday’s announcement that the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised more than $70 million during the third quarter of this year. At least 15 percent of the donations came from California, officials said. More details on Obama’s third-quarter fund-raising efforts are expected in the coming days.
Barack Obama, President of the United States, delivers a speech at the general debate during the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations, held at the U.N. headquarters in midtown Manhattan. (Sept. 21, 2011)
*Four years ago, Barack Obama and his Hollywood donors were serenaded by superstar Stevie Wonder on the lawn of Oprah Winfrey’s Montecito estate.
But when President Obama comes to Los Angeles on Monday for two fundraisers, the faithful gathering at the House of Blues will have to content themselves with musical selections by rapper and singer-songwriter B.o.B., Adam 12 and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, notes The Hollywood Reporter — something for everyone perhaps, but not exactly top-of-the-marquee material.
The event will be MC’ed by Jesse Tyler Ferguson of “Modern Family.”
The House of Blues line up is further indication that while Hollywood’s upper strata — measured by income and star wattage — may ultimately rally behind the president, there is little enthusiasm for the man now.
“Maybe Stevie was busy?” offered Hollywood politico and publicist Howard Bragman. “For me, it’s a non-issue. I think Obama is going to get all the talent he needs as he gets closer to the election. As soon as one of those Republicans gains in the polls, we’ll have all the enthusiasm we need.”
Apart from the House of Blues event, where will tickets will run from $250 to $10,000, the president also will dine at Fig & Olive in West Hollywood. The high rollers at that event will pony up $35,800 per couple.
Ryan Rhodes, right, and another member of the Iowa Tea Party Revolution, speak to President Barack Obama at a town hall meeting, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, at the Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa, during his three-day economic bus tour.
*With an assist from Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh, 29-year-old Tea Party member Ryan Rhodes is enjoying his 5 minutes of fame, making TV appearances on CNN and Fox News Channel , after video of him challenging President Obama on civility and financial policy went viral.
His road to celebrity began Monday as Obama signed autographs after a townhall meeting. With patriotic music blaring in the background and surrounded by supporters of the president, Rhodes asked Obama how he can call for “civility” when Vice President Joe Biden is calling Tea Partiers “terrorists” and “hostage takers.” Obama denied Biden used such language.
Rhodes next asked Obama about the weak economy and whether it was “reasonable” to expect a balanced budget from lawmakers.
“It doesn’t sound like you’re interested in listening,” Obama told him.
“You haven’t listened either,” Rhodes shot back. “You’re blaming it on everyone but yourself” (video below).
The Drudge Report on Tuesday posted a photo of Rhodes talking to Obama accompanied by the headline: “Tea Partiers In His Face,” then Rhodes appeared on Limbaugh’s national radio show.
Limbaugh asked if CNN had reached out to Rhodes, and he told them it had. “About every station pretty much contacted me,” Rhodes said.
“Opportunities galore are going to present themselves to you as a result of this instance,” Limbaugh said. Then Limbaugh promised to send Rhodes a free iPad, Macbook and samples of his new iced tea line, Two If By Tea.
The next stop for Rhodes was an interview with Sean Hannity on his Hannity TV show. The Fox News host not only chatted with the newly minted media personality, but also enlisted the help of a couple more Fox stars to dissect the video.
Rhodes’ sudden fame is similar to the way Joe Wurzelbacher shot to prominence after Obama, while campaigning, talked to the Ohio plumber about his desire to “spread the wealth around” if he were elected president.
The media dubbed him Joe the Plumber and he quickly appeared on Good Morning America, CBS Evening News and a dozen more TV shows after the exchange. Later, he became a motivational speaker and wrote a book.
With a 5 a.m. video sent Monday via email and text message to supporters, President Barack Obama announced his intention to seek reelection in 2012.
By filing papers with the Federal Election Commission, the president can begin fundraising for his 2012 operation, which will be headquartered at One Prudential Plaza in Chicago — just a short hop away from the site of his victory speech in 2008 at Grant Park.
Jim Messina, who worked as deputy chief of staff to the president for two years until last January, will serve as campaign manager for Obama’s effort to stay in the White House. The Washington Post notes that many of the names who helped Obama win in 2008 will be on board to advance his second presidential campaign.
This morning, the Obama For America premiered the 2 min 10 sec video – titled “It Begins With Us.” The footage contained no images of Obama, and featured voice over from American citizens discussing their reasons for supporting the president’s 2012 campaign. [Scroll down to watch.]
“This campaign is just kicking off,” the site states. “We’re opening up offices, unpacking boxes, and starting a conversation with supporters like you to help shape our path to victory.”
Below: Obama for America’s full email and video.
Today, we are filing papers to launch our 2012 campaign.
We’re doing this now because the politics we believe in does not start with expensive TV ads or extravaganzas, but with you — with people organizing block-by-block, talking to neighbors, co-workers, and friends. And that kind of campaign takes time to build.
So even though I’m focused on the job you elected me to do, and the race may not reach full speed for a year or more, the work of laying the foundation for our campaign must start today.
We’ve always known that lasting change wouldn’t come quickly or easily. It never does. But as my administration and folks across the country fight to protect the progress we’ve made — and make more — we also need to begin mobilizing for 2012, long before the time comes for me to begin campaigning in earnest.
As we take this step, I’d like to share a video that features some folks like you who are helping to lead the way on this journey. Please take a moment to watch: