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Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Geffen on Obama: 'He'll be an inspiring president'

Geffen_2David Geffen is no dummy. When I called him today, he knew exactly what I wanted to talk about: "Maureen's column, right?" he said before I could finish a sentence. I guess you don't get to be a fabulously successful media mogul without having a sixth sense of what on someone's mind, whether they're a famous filmmaker or a tongue-tied reporter.

When historians start looking for turning points in the trajectory of the Obama campaign for the presidency, they will inevitably turn to Feb. 21, 2007, the day that the New York Times' Maureen Dowd ran a column where Geffen blasted then-Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton. He didn't just say he disliked Hillary, he dismissed her as "the easiest [candidate] to beat." He called Hillary overproduced and overscripted. "It's not a very big thing to say, 'I made a mistake' on the war, and typical of Hillary Clinton that she can't."

Geffen added that after eight years of George W. Bush as president, "I don't think that another incredibly polarizing figure, no matter how smart she is and no matter how ambitious she is--and God knows, is there anybody more ambitious than Hillary Clinton--can bring the country together." Geffen's indictment of Clinton caused a firestorm. It's easy to forget that back in the winter of 2007, Hillary wasn't just the front runner--she was considered inevitable. The entire Clinton campaign was based on a sense of her invincibility. Clinton operatives were telling deep-pocket party supporters--you better sign on now. The train is leaving the station and you don't want it leaving without you.

Geffen broke the spell. Having soured on the Clintons after raising huge sums of money for Bill and sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom--twice--Geffen found himself enamored of Obama from the first time he saw him on TV, giving a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "I thought he was a remarkable guy," Geffen told me today. "After I heard him give that speech, I called him up and said, 'You're going to run for president and I'm going to support you.' " Geffen says Obama laughed and said he was very flattered, but that he wasn't running.

Cut to two years later. "He called me one day and said with a laugh, ' David, I guess you're right. I am running for president and I'd like your support.' And of course, I said, 'You have it.' "

What is the private Obama like? And how did Dowd get Geffen to finally go public with his complaints about Hillary? Keep reading:

Geffen had actually voiced his concerns about Hillary long before the February 2007 fundraiser that  he hosted with fellow DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Some time before, Geffen was a speaker at the 92nd Street Y in New York. When someone asked about his take on the Democratic presidential aspirants, the billionaire mogul didn't mince words. "I said that Hillary was an incredibly polarizing figure and that if she ran, she'd never be elected president," he recalls. "And when I said it, the audience broke into applause. Maureen was in the audience and afterwards she said to me, 'We oughta do a column about that.' "

Geffen says he wasn't ready. "I said, 'No, no, no. No one's interested in what I have to say about the Clintons.' But she kept after me and finally, when Steven, Jeffrey and I had the fundraiser, Maureen cornered me and said, 'You have to say what you're thinking. It could have a real impact on the race.' So I did." Geffen sighs. "What can I tell you--I was just speaking the truth."

His remarks caused a media uproar. The comments were front-page news in Washington, D.C. The Clinton campaign instantly demanded that Obama disavow the remarks, saying that after Obama had promised to avoid any slash-and-burn politics, he'd "embraced the politics of trash." They also demanded that Obama return Geffen's $2,300 personal donation to his campaign. At a Democratic presidential forum in Carson City, Nev., the Geffen quotes were hotly debated, with Gov. Bill Richardson calling on Obama to denounce Geffen's comments and Clinton defending her husband's record as president.

According to one political operative I spoke to today, the Geffen broadside had an instant impact because he'd been the first to voice fears shared by many liberal Democrats about the prospect of a Hillary coronation. Geffen agrees. "It resonated because it was what everyone was thinking, but no one wanted to say, because they feared the wrath of the Clintons. That's also true of the press. They didn't want to take on the Clintons, because they knew they'd lose all their access. But this put everything out in the open."

Geffen sounded bittersweet about last night's results. He was pleased to see Obama win such a convincing victory, but saddened to see that California voters had approved Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage in the state. I found myself eager to ask Geffen, who's spent considerable time in private with Obama, if the public candidate is different from the private person. "Not at all," Geffen says. "He's really quite consistent. It's why the Republicans were never able to bring him down. He's a calm but commanding presence, thoughtful, measured and always consistent. He'll be an inspiring president."

Over the years, whether as a manager, a record mogul or driving force behind DreamWorks, Geffen has had the ability to approach various projects with a blend of passion and pragmatism. I asked if he sees Obama as a pragmatist as well. "Of course," Geffen responded. "You have to be pragmatic to be an African American running for president in America."

Photo of David Geffen by Paul Hawthorne / Associated Press

 
Comments () | Archives (137)

The comments to this entry are closed.

David Geffen has let us in on some of the best insights into this campaign and should be a must-read for all of us newly minted political junkies. It's one thing to be a very rich businessman, but another thing to let us in on real insight and access. While I liked Hillary, I LOVED Bill--warts and all--but felt no compulsion to continue another Bush-Clinton family dynasty. I also felt that Republicans were just laying in the cut for her to be the nominee. They had so much dirt it was turning into mud as they salivated at the thought of running against Hillary.

What I want to know now is what does he thinks happened in the two years after he made his prediction to Obama and the actual campaign?

So what does David Geffen have to say about the Democrats' gay rights legislative agenda in Congress for 2009? Does he think there will even be one? Are gay voters once again to be thrown under the bus?

You held this until Nov. 6?

Well you could have figure that. You'll need to see this also halfpad.org

Whoever wrote Obama's 2004 speech should have run for President. His great speech writers are stuck on "change" but will not tell us what kind of change. Now Geffin and friends will get to see "change" come out of the closet.

Funny thing is----all the African-Americans and Hispanics that came out for the "Minority Candidate" ---also overwhelmingly voted for Prop 8. Hoisted by their own petard!
I love this Country.

President Elect Obama has the support of all 56+ million that did not vote for him. Or at least he will have the same support that people like Pelosi, Reid and the Times gave to President Bush. Looks like liberals "chickens have come home to roost". Since Obama is about fairness this would be the only fair thing to do.

David geffen is clown shoes.

Yes the gay voters all 1% of them will not be happy, just because people vote democrat does not mean they are gay or sympathetic, miht as well try and make abortion illegal too, geniuses.

You Clowns will Pray Bush was still in Power.

David Letterman wrote this; it's the David we don't often see....

'As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.'
'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?
The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President.. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?
C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.
F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?
Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.
Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in
the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it
this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New
York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'
-David Letterman


Please keep this in circulation. There are so many people who need to read this and grasp the truth of it all.

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=

Reply Reply to all Forward


L R MOST________________________________ Date: Wed, 5 Nov 2008 10:59:32 -0800 From: r...
7:37 PM (20 hours ago)


Timothy Gorrie________________________________
7:26 AM (8 hours ago)


Timothy Gorrie---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Timothy Gorrie wrote:


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Timothy Gorrie
Date: Thu, Nov 6, 2008 at 7:26 AM
Subject: Fwd: FW: David Letterman (A Must Read!)
To: Donn Lindstrom

Amen is all I have to say!!!

This is a really great reminder of all we have to be thankful for!! This doesn't sound like Letterman to me but it is good
No matter what your political convictions are this is an eye opener....What a thankless people we are!!!

David Letterman, on President Bush. (Surprising)

David Letterman wrote this; it's the David we don't often see....

'As most of you know I am not a President Bush fan, nor have I ever been, but this is not about Bush, it is about us, as Americans, and it seems to hit the mark.'
'The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some Poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true given the source, right?
The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President.. In essence 2/3 of the citizenry just ain't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, 'What are we so unhappy about?'

A. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 Days a week?

B. Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter?
C. Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job?

D. Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

E. Maybe it is the ability to drive our cars and trucks from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state.
F. Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter?

G. I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough either.

H. Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

I. Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home.
J. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family, and your belongings.

K. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss.

L. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90% of teenagers own cell phones and computers.

M. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world?

Maybe that is what has 67% of you folks unhappy.

Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S. , yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the president who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The president who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same president who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The president that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks? The commander in chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me?
Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it......are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR is it because the 'Media' told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day.
Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an 'other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable' discharge after a few days in
the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans?

Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds it leads and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by 'justifying' them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it
this way......Insane!

Turn off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New
York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially more good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative.' 'With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, 'Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?'
-David Letterman


 
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