Saturday, April 17, 2004

Stars align behind Clooney


Movie bigwigs pass the hat

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Congressional candidate Nick Clooney's campaign finance report reads like the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kevin Costner, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Renee Zellweger, Lucy Liu, Bonnie Hunt and Paul Newman - likely enticed to give by Clooney's actor son George - show up on the Democrat's record-setting finance report filed this week.

Plenty of moguls also appear, including Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks, Miramax Films co-chairman Robert Weinstein, HBO chairman Christopher Albrecht and Universal Studios president Ronald Meyer.

There are even some famous directors, among them Steven Soderbergh and Steven Spielberg.

All told, nearly 120 contributors with Tinsel Town connections gave up about $170,000 for Clooney's campaign, which set a new Fourth Congressional District fund-raising record in the first quarter of this year with almost $500,000.

Many of the stars attended a fund-raiser George Clooney held in March at his Studio City home near Los Angeles.

Republicans are critical of the support Clooney is receiving from his son's friends and associates, saying the views of Hollywood don't represent those of Kentucky.

"It's Hollywood versus the heartland," GOP candidate Kevin Murphy said this week while speaking to Grant County Republicans.

Justin Brasell, spokesman for another Republican candidate - Geoff Davis - used the same phrase.

"This district wants substance, not celebrity," Brasell said Friday. "In the end, our Kentucky values will prevail over Hollywood liberalism."

Brasell also attacked the Clooney campaign for not including the occupations of some of his contributors, though in the cases of donors such as actress Drew Barrymore, retired CBS news anchor Walter Cronkite and actor DeVito their professions are fairly obvious.

"Clearly (Clooney) is desperate to hide the fact that more than 40 percent of his contributions are from left-wing, Hollywood types whose views are directly opposed to our conservative Kentucky values," Brasell said.

Clooney's campaign consultant and fund-raiser, Bob Doyle of Washington, said he isn't overly concerned about the GOP comments.

"I'm glad they are wasting time on such things," Doyle said Friday. "At the end of the day the people in Northern Kentucky who have known Nick Clooney for years know he is his own man, an independent guy whose views are consistent with the people of his district."

Crescent Springs Democrat Alice Sparks, who has contributed $4,000 to Clooney's campaign - the maximum allowed by federal law - said she sees nothing wrong with the Hollywood crowd getting involved in 4th District politics.

"They have a right to support candidates just like anybody else," Sparks said. "A lot of people in the entertainment district, like (actor and former National Rifle Association president) Charlton Heston support President Bush and other Republicans."

Clooney is unopposed in the Democratic primary. Incumbent U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas, a Boone County Democrat, is not seeking a fourth term.

Nick Clooney's Hollywood contributors

Drew Barrymore, actress, $1,000
Adrien Brody, actor, $2,500
Red Buttons, actor, $500
Kevin Costner, actor, $2,000
Courteney Cox, actress, $500
Danny DeVito, actor, $2,000
Andy Garcia, actor, $500
Salma Hayek, actress, $1,000
Bonnie Hunt, actress, $4,000
Matt LeBlanc, actor, $2,000
Lucy Liu, actress, $500
Paul Newman, actor, $2,000
Meg Ryan, actress, $1,000
Laura San Giacomo, actress, $1,000
Kevin Spacey, actor, $2,000
Noah Wyle, actor, $4,000
Renee Zellweger, $4,000

Source: Federal Election Commission report

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E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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