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Oprah's Obama party instructions

OK, listen up, party people.

Those of you heading over to Oprah's big house in Montecito for the big Obama fundraising party on Sept. 8--and you all know who you are--need to know some very important planning information, which The Times' Tina Daunt has just obtained exclusively.

Yes, yes, you've each already shelled out at least $2,300--and maybe $4,600 if you're thinking of the general election too. That's for the invite alone.

Now, according to the instructions just sent out to attendees by Julianna Smoot, Obama's national finance director, here come the clothing requirements:

First, you need to wear "Garden Attire." And that don't mean clothes to go garden in, folks. It means summery, sheer, lots of linen, maybe some floppy hats, blazers, contrasting slacks and open collars for the guys (because you know Barack likes open collars).

Also--and this is very important--they're not calling it a fundraiser anymore. Fundraiser is kind of crass, don't you think? Sounds like they're after money. And fundraiser is what Hillary Clinton is calling her event over at Magic Johnson's house six days later. So, the Oprah-Obama event has become "a celebration."

The celebration will be held on Oprah's meadow. You've got one of those too, don't you? Big grassy...

area like where livestock graze only without the piles of you-know-what to step in. "Comfortable footwear is recommended," the instructions say. "Ladies, flat shoes are a must!"

What if it rains?

Also, even though you've already dropped thousands on this affair, you may well have been considering bringing a gift for Barack and Oprah. Don't do that! "Due to security and space limitations, no gifts or packages for Ms. Winfrey or Senator Obama will be accepted onsite." So, you'll probably want to ship your special somethings.

There are no repeat no tickets to this event. So don't be buying any from scalpers. Your name will be on an approved list, and government-issued photo ID like a driver's license or U.S. passport will be required for entrance. Invitations are strictly non-transferable, so if you aren't on the official list, take a hike. The confirmation e-mail letter is the only document. "Do not duplicate or distribute."

"All purses and bags will be searched." And "For the comfort of all guests, no cameras or recording devices will be permitted."

The party will be from 3 to 7 p.m. that Saturday. The official check-in place is now being called the Greeting Center. It will be off-site at the Earl Warren Showgrounds, Gate B, in Santa Barbara and open for check-in or greeting only from 2:15 until 3:45. So don't be late, or your $2,300 will only get you an empty check-in desk. Valet parking is required. Then guests will be escorted onto a motorcoach for "the short ride to the celebration."

Oh, and if you plan to stay overnight, some blocks of rooms have been set aside at several area hotels. Be sure to ask for the special Obama 08 rate, which starts at $280 at the Upham Hotel and runs up to only $1,600 for the night at the Bacara Resort and Spa. So you might want to stay two.

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (60)

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I don't really think these rules are so "strange". If I were going, I would want to be safe, and so do they. What is wrong with that?


Why is "strange" in quotes in your comment? Where in this piece does it say any of this is strange? What do you know that the rest of us don't?

There's nothing strange about it (and pause to wait for the giggles to pass). Now, go get your "comfortable footwear" and let's get on to the serious business of nominating a candidate for leader of the free world, but only after we make sure we're all wearing the right clothes for the season...

"No cameras or recording devices will be permitted."

Not even being able to see the glitterati eating rubber chicken and laughing at tired bons mots sounds awfully uptight for a populist man of the people. But
given all the cellphones with builtin cameras I wish them hearty good luck in enforcing that rule. I'm expecting party photos of drunken shenanigans to hit Flickr while the event is still in progress.


Ticket to event - $2,300. New wardrobe consistent with Ms. Smoot's directives - $450. Opportunity to hear the first term senator make another inarticulate foreign policy gaffe while Oprah nods approvingly....priceless.

What exactly are we celebrating anyway?

Obama thinks he's special when he is same as other candidates just for RIGHT NOW

When a so-called celebrity decides to stage a celebration for anyone, I don't care who they are or what party they affiliated with...that is enough to make me think even longer and harder about that proposed candidate's credentials. Celebrities and politics do not mix.

I think it is very sad that a woman like Oprah would celebrate someone who will not win. Al that money could have gone to charity. She does a fine talk about child abuse and sexual abuse among various other nobel causes, but $2,300 for a "celebration" that is meaningless is truly tragic and a waste of good money. Many good people would write a check to be at an event that was truly a "celebration" of a good cause and not a lost cause. The only people who will be at that "celebration" are people who want to bow to the Queen and her fantasy son, "Prince Charming".

celebrating the azz kicking he's going to get.

M, My, My, aren't some of us nasty or is it jealous.

BTW Oprah gives plenty of money to charity and raises plenty for charity also. What she wants to do with the rest of her money is her business.

I don't remember Republicans complaining when GWB had his Rangers raising money hand over fist from the oil industry. Or are these Hillary's Hellraiser (or what ever they are), if so would you be complaining if she did it for her or whoever your candidate was?

Barack Obama is more than special. He is God's gift to Mankind and Womankind. America would be lucky and wise to elect such a president.\
A great choice for once.

i'll look forward to the "james frey" treatment she'll give him when he loses. we all know that girlfriend likes to get her pound of flesh when she doesn't get her way.

This pro-Hillary hit piece is inane and hypocritical. How about we put some Hillary fundraisers under this sort of gossip-harpy scrutiny? Additionally, the comments in response to this blog are simply laughable. You want money to go to a good cause? There's no better cause than fighting to elect a president who, unlike Hillary, is not awash corporate lobbyist money, had the good judgment and foresight to realize that invading Iraq would be the worst foreign policy blunder in American history, and also unlike Hillary "52%-disapproval" Clinton, actually has a chance of winning in 2008.

Why was this column published? What is so strange about advising invitees what to wear. I'm sure nobody would want to show up for an outdoor event in heels and an evening dress or tux. If you really want to look at something fake and pretentious, look at Fred Thompson's "little red pickup truck" which I linked to above.

Oh Oprah, Oprah, please stop with the I'm so wonderful, and I throw such wonderful events blabbery. You really have reached another realm with your, I'm richer than you, and I'm better than you, and you are lucky to live on the same planet with my wonder self, attitude. True humility Oprah doesn't scream look at me, look at me. True goodness and humility is as nameless and faceless as some of the street people you will no doubt pass, on your way to "celebrate".

Money money money money moneymoneymoneymoney.
This is what this campaign is all about. Forget ending the war.
Too busy collecting money to talk about it.
Forget Katrina victims. Too busy.
Forget FISA and the flushing away of habeus corpus.
Money moneymoneymoneymoneymoney.

And if we wind up voting for Nader don't blame us.

We are all desperate for a change in our national leadership. "New blood" just may be the answer - "old blood" isn't. If we don't open our minds and hearts and really look at the Big Picture, well Folks, we're going to perpetuate what we already have, albeit for the next set of lobbied interests - $$$.

oh dear, there goes the neighborhood.

Sounds like a lovely event to me. And you know it is going to be beautiful. Oprah does a lot of things for everybody. Including children. So good for her for doing what she wants in supporting Obama. Chances are, he will be our next V.P. And despite the sneering tone of this article regarding Oprah's requirements, her 'celebration' has the look and feel of class ... something the current administration knows nothing about. Oh, the Neocons are good at corruption and killing, but class? None. So, her approach is a breath of relief and fresh meadow air. I wish I could go.

Oh boy...The "green-eyed" monster is a live and kicking today. Look, you Oprahphobes need to get a grip and stop the hatin.This woman--from very humble roots--has accomplished more than anyother woman I can think of, and more than most man. She did at time when blacks were still being overtly discriminaated against. Further, she didn't fit the prototypical mold; dark, fat and female. Physically abused as a child to boot. I don't watch her very often because I think most of the topics are fluff, but I sure as hell respect and admire what she's done with her life. If you can't appreciate that, it could be only one or two reasons. Jealousy or no appreciation for greatness. Or both.

For the inane post that calls Obama silly names. How about discussing the man's political positions. That's what really matters. We've got big trouble in America, and we desperately need not only a thinking president, but also a thinking electorate. Think people, ans stop calling names like children in a sandbox!

Wow, I'm dumbfounded that this is even worthy of posting, but what shocked me more was your comments. Celebrities and politics don't mix? Since when? Aren't they americans too? Forget about the war??? It's one of Obama's key issues, he spends more time talking about the war than anything else! Since when did ANY candidate that didn''t raise a gazillion dollars win an election? Isn't it better that an accual person donate alot of money to a campaign rather that a lobbyist or corporation that want favors returned once the candidate is in office? If you think it's such a brilliant idea to throw another Washington dinosaur in the whitehouse, and let 2 single families run the country for 3 decades, maybe you should focus your energy on laying out some good arguments rather than create this petty fake outrage. Andrew Malcom, whoever you are, if you have to dig this deep for a story, maybe blogging isnt for you.

wow, you're article really tries to find fault with these party rules, but you fail miserably. there is nothing at all wrong with these rules, and you're an idiot for trying to make something out of nothing.

I don't understand why people are trashing Oprah for having this event. Unfortunately money is necessary under our current system and until we change that this is what candidates need to do in order to mount a successful campaign. I like Barack Obama but I have not decided whom to support in the primaries. Oprah has the money and clout to do what she wants. She earned it all and should be applauded for getting involved. If all this talk of big money gets you crazy then do something about it and get involved in the process. The American people can change anything if they get involved. Of course most can not afford to give $2300.00 to a candidate but getting educated about the issues costs nothing. 2008 is the most important election in some time. Get involved and vote.

Sounds like many here are jealous. I hope people were screaming money, money, money when Spelberg threw an event for Mrs. Clinton.

The Clintons will have their moment with Magic! But for now Barack can enjoy his time in the sun. Oprah has nothing to apologize for she is a charitable woman and in my opinion she has chosen the right candidate who will do the right thing for America.

I'm not invited. Bummer. I am so angry, I am sending my $2,300 to a children's charity that assists kids being left in the lurch by Bush's threatened abandonment of SCHIP.

When Obama and Oprah decide to benefit these kids, I will angle for another invitation.



Everyone reading these comments is laughing at you.


You should have learned nettiquette ten years ago: there is nothing so arrogant as posting or emailing in all caps. It shows poor form and an infantile attitude. WHAAAA! WHAAAA! LOOK AT ME, NOT OBAMA!

Fascinating how so many people can't attack Obama for his record... or his rhetoric.. or even his character.

So they attack him for the financial status of his varied supporters?

Good job, everyone! Way to man the watchtowers!

Next time you want to criticize a presidential candidate, try and actually discuss issues that matter instead of getting frustrated at a small portion of the MILLIONS that will vote for him simply because of their bank accounts.

OBAMA'S "problem" isn't that he is black, or that all the blacks are coming out to support their black-enough candidate. OBAMA'S problem is that he is green. And naive, and liberal, and passive, and scared.

No more green presidents.

Now that Senator Obama is dropping out of future candidate debates
and forums, he doesn't need the money. He maybe attractive
but lacks substance. George Stepanapolus should ask him
in the Iowa debate on Sunday, if he is willing to talk with Castro
and the villians of the world why can't he go head to head with
Hillary except in his chosen forums.

He should also ask him if he is the cowardly lion, the scarecrow,
or the tin man. He doesn't have heart, nor a soul and he certainly
doesn't have metal.

Lovin' me some of that Barack. If I was bettin' I'd put my money on Barack, baby. An endorsement from Oprah? It's over. Don't EVER underestimate the power of the O. She will have all those little white soccer moms lining up like they were at a sale at Tuesday Morning to vote for him.

Oprah can throw a 'celebration' for whoever she wants. I'm happy she's found a way to create a media empire and get rich, and what she does with her money is her business.

But perhaps what bugs some people about her is not envy but more that she's become an icon of celebrity culture, and seems to think (as do her fans) that her opinions on books and other products and in this case a candidate for President actually matter more than most other people's. That's all that I'm bothered by in any of this (same for Spielberg, or Geffen or any of them). She's a rich, popular woman that does a good job hosting a TV show and lot's of other stuff. None of these people (as far as I know) are better informed or better qualified to pick who should govern us than any other voter in the country, yet they are able to use their name, their rolodex and in her case her viewership and readership to have a big impact based on who they endorse.

That bugs me because I don't believe she's necessarily qualified to wield that influence -- same is true of the big corporate money types, but they are only matching her on the money bit. She's telling millions of people who trust her for book recommendations - vote for this guy because I like him. I don't care if they follow her word on books, but what is it in her life that makes her qualified to be a king maker, exactly?

Publishing her own magazine where only her face appears every month also seems a little ego-maniacal, but I don't' know her well enough to know that one for sure...oh and the schools in Africa with the relatively lavish facilities vs. many more with simpler finshings (and that the local economy probably can't sustain or repair over time)...that too seems a bit self-agrandizing, though certainly much better than not doing it at all.

Geez! Where were all the in-depth investigations about the huge lobbying scandals the last 6 years or so. Seems to me like a much worth while cause to do some real gum-shoe reporting. Instead of something more suited for the E! Channel.

(Ans: But like most people you wouldn't have read it. You're right, this is a celebrity story, about life on a level most of us can only imagine. Now, JD, look at the dilaogue it started thru dozens of Comments like yours. Now, go back to some of the more serious blog items here. Check out how many reader Comments: 0.--AM)

Our country is facing three possible fatal crises.
in 5-10 years -- permanent and widening world wide oil shortage in 10 - 20 years -- financial meltdown over runaway healthcare/retierement expenses in 20- 40 years -- mass starvation and resettlement because of global warming.
Perhaps, instead of making snide comments about "garden' "celeberation"s, we should be more interested in which candidate can unite and inspire America to go after the solutions to these issues before it is too late.
Obama is the only candidate who has any chance of accomplishing this.

I'm just appalled that they're having garden attire after Labor Day. Tacky, very tacky. /sarcasm on

"And if we wind up voting for Nader don't blame us."

I will blame you, alain. I blame Nader voters for not taking politics seriously enough to vote for a candidate who could win in 2000. I blame Nader voters for being so clueless about the political system that they believe a perennial outsider who does nothing but complain could actually have an effect on politics.

Name me one piece of legislation that Nader has helped pass since 1999. Tell me why a bunch of holier-than-thou political puritans keep handing the GOP victory after victory as they tear down the only opposition the Republicans have- the Democratic Party, but still think they have a legitimate voice in the political system. And tell me why the arrogant, self-indulgent Nader voters still have the nerve to look down their noses at the people who are jumping through the hoops necessary to be elected President, as their movement has done nothing but allow the Bush administration to run up economy-crippling debt, start two failed wars and destroy the environment all for profit for their cronies.

It has always been the case that the have-nots envy the haves. Sometimes that is justified - as in graft, corruption, and leaning on inherited assets. But here is Obama, not a gazillionaire, who has inspired O to help him out. O with her self-earned assets. Come on you small-minded people! Especially if I earned it, it's mine to spend as I wish! I've been to MANY events where there was a dress code. It's because the sponsors don't want their guests to look foolish. If everyone dresses more or less alike, nobody looks alike and draws negative attention.

We've been covering some funny fundraising stories from the campaign trail at our nonprofit fundraising gossip blog, Don't Tell the Donor.


I just wish Oprah had been better informed when Bush ran in 2000. Giving him that couch interview made him more acceptable to Oprah's fans. She should have known what a threat he was to this country. I did. And so did anyone who bothered to read Molly Ivins book and assesments of 'Shrub" or just paid the least bit of attention. To have given him (Bush) any good airtime was inexcusable. In my mind she shares some of the blame for his being able to steal the presidency. It is imperative for Oprah to throw any and all her weight behind any Democrat that wins the nomination. The time is long passed to sit on the sidelines and talk about 600 threadcount sheets.

Well, there went 3 minutes of my life I'll never get back again! I'm not sure what's sadder, a pulitzer prize nominee being reduced to gossip column fodder, or some of the comments I read. No wonder the country is such a mess!

(Ans: It does seem like a lot of people read it and commented, doesn't it.-AM)

By reading the comments from voters in america, not capitlaized intentionally because this is what the comments reflect for our future, a small country full of garbage that couldn't get past colors like a child introduced to neon lights

What is it with Hillary and men who cheat on their wives? First Bill, then LA mayor Villagarosa, then Gaven Newsom from San Fran give her their endorsements and now Magic is holding a fundraiser. Anyone else see the same trend here? I half expect Rudy Giuliani to endorse her.

It really is quite funny to read all this "grisp" and "grap", as if Billary and Obama were the only two Democratic candidates running. Either one could get nominated but could still lose the general election...which is likely with the Republican SMEAR MACHINE.

If all of you hadn't noticed, the polls show John Edwards doing far better head-to-head against any Republican candidate than either Hillary (a lot of baggage) and a corporatist darling or Obama (too mouthy at the moment) and no experience.

I'm all for a woman being elected but Hillary is not going to do the American people a lick of good so she isn't the one. Her own allies said she dropped the ball on the health care inititative...that she just wasn't the person for the job. Too bad so many will vote for her just because she's a woman or that she's been wronged. The same can be said for Obama and his "blackness". Again, I'm all for Obama, ten years of experience down the road.

Wow people must be really amped up about this "celebration" there are so many comments.

"if he is willing to talk with Castro and the villians of the world"

Oh, has he been talking to Bush and Cheney?

Castro, and certainly popular and democratically elected Hugo Chavez, are not "villains of the world", despite what the propagandists drum into peoples' brains. Funny how Americans don't hate all the dictators who are allies ... because they haven't been told to do so by the corporate press. If you want really dastardly villains, take a look at Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch.

please to the haters, obama is a human being, what opra does with her money is none of your business , get a life and a job

What Oprah and Obama are celebrating is a new birth of change, change for good in this country, hope for the hopeless, a return grace for our father-land that has long been gone and trash in the face of the rest of the world. America need to get back it's love and respect from other people and country's around the world.

I wish l am invited because Oprah is one lady that l admire so very much, coming from nothing and with much hard work, look at how she has transformed her life. And she is the most generous person that l have ever seen, giving so freely to the poor and children all over the world. We should try to emulate her by giving to people even if we do not have alot like her and that is what Oprah teaches to people. we should recognise her deeds and respect her for that instead all these nonsense talk that you all are writing about. please stop the jealousy and hate!

obama is a man of honour, respect, man of high moral values, an authentic man, with much intelligence and who wants to help and improve life's of the American people. we should all embrace this good and the ideas that he has got to offer. l am voting for him because my bright future is in his ideas and values. Obama for change and hope!!!!

Yall talking about Oprah as if she's giving the 3 million dollars. There is only but so much that you can give to any candidate, $2,300.00 dollars. Oprah can only give that much, but collectively from donors that she invites, they together can raise that much. If my math is right, that would mean she would have at least had to invite 1,304 people to the celebration. With all that land that she has, I'm sure she can pull it off.

If Oprah wants to support Obama, and throw him a celebration, a bash, a fund raiser, then thats her prerogative. Who are we to question what she does with her money and quite frankly, what she does at her OWN HOUSE, on her own property. I'm with the person who says that they too are American citizens, so why shouldn't they be allowed to give?

Would you rather these people be Lobbyist? I don't see anybody here chastising Hillary for admitting to taking from Lobbyist. Hypocrites!

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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