Obama's dinner guests at Clooney's: Details on lucky winners
The two Obama supporters who won tickets to Thursday night's campaign fundraiser for the president at George Clooney's house apparently had about 72 hours to prepare for the soiree after learning Monday they'd been selected.
Karen Blutcher, a 45-year-old mother from Florida, said in a brief phone interview that she had just flown into Los Angeles this afternoon. The Obama supporter has a 5-year-old son with Down syndrome and works for a public utility company in St. Augustine, Fla. She invited her husband, Patrick, a former military man, to be her guest.
The other winner, Beth Topinka, is a 55-year-old science teacher from New Jersey who grew up in Ohio and moved to New Jersey as an adult. Her son served in the U.S. Navy and attended Penn State on the G.I. Bill. Her husband, Jerry, a jazz guitarist, comes from a Republican family but voted for Obama in 2008.
According to his official website, Jerry Topinka is not new to celebrity culture. He's opened for David Benoit, guitarist Martin Taylor and managed the 2000 U.S. and Canadian tour of Academy Award-winning Indian musician A.R. Rahman. Perhaps he brought his guitar for tonight's event.
Blutcher and Beth Topinka were among thousands of people who contributed to the president's reelection campaign with the hopes of nabbing a golden ticket to the star-studded fundraising event tonight. Hollywood VIPs are paying $40,000 apiece to attend the party.
After speaking briefly to a reporter by phone, Blutcher said she had to take a shower and referred further inquiries to a spokesperson. The Obama campaign declined interview requests for the two winners.
— Nicole Sperling
Photo: George Clooney walks toward the podium to speak to the media March 15 at the White House. He met with President Barack Obama to discuss the current situations in Darfur, Sudan. Credit: Alex Wong / Getty Images