President Obama Talks Tech, Election With Industry Players at Live Nation CEO's House

An assortment of entertainment industry executives and business leaders, as well as Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, attended a roundtable discussion Thursday morning with President Barack Obama at the Mandeville Canyon home of Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, sources told The Hollywood Reporter.

The event's 25 attendees paid $32,400 per person to spend about an hour with the president, discussing mostly the Democrats' prospects in the upcoming midterm elections. (At one point, however, Kutcher asked Obama about the tech industry and innovation, and how it might help U.S. businesses.)

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Attendees at the fundraiser, benefiting the Democratic National Committee, included Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairman Rob Friedman, Paradigm Talent Agency chairman Sam Gores, ROAR partner Bernie Cahill, Warner Bros. Records and Warner/Chappell Music chairman and CEO Cameron Strang, artist manager and concert promoter Bill Silva, WME partner Marc Geiger and music promoter Andy Hewitt.

The group mingled in the garden of Rapino's contemporary home, where they dined on vegan food before sitting down for a substantive discussion with the president in the living room.

An invitation to the event, exclusively obtained by THR, called on Hollywood supporters to donate to the DNC so the party "could keep control of the Senate and make significant headway in winning back the House."

"The truth is, we simply cannot win in 2016 without building our base in 2014," read the invite. "We cannot do that without a strong Democratic National Committee. With the Tea Party and other extremists taking ground, the time is now to start raising money, and protect our future."

The invitation also stated: "This is the last trip to Los Angeles the president will be making this year and a truly special opportunity to interact with the leader of the free world in an off-the-record, small forum."

Reporters in the White House traveling press corps were not allowed in to the event, and were held in vans some distance away.

After the Rapino gathering, Obama made a surprise visits to Canter's Deli on Fairfax Avenue, where he sat and chatted with patrons about everything from his basketball game to the crisis in Ukraine. Before departing L.A., the president also delivered an address on jobs at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College.

This article was first published by The Hollywood Reporter


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