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Obama loudly cheered by stars at Hollywood fundraiser

Under a tent on George Clooney's basketball court, the cheers were loud and warm for President Obama.

"I want to thank Clooney for letting us use his basketball court," Obama quipped to a glittery crowd that included Barbra Streisand, Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr., Salma Hayek and Tobey Maguire. "This guy has been talking smack about his basketball game ever since I've known him."

It can't feel too shabby to be applauded by Barbra, Salma and Tobey while you're teasing your buddy George. And though many of the guests Thursday night at Clooney's home in the Studio City area of Los Angeles were, like their host, longtime supporters, there was no question the president was feeling some special love at this fundraiser. He had, after all, thrilled the community a day earlier with the support for gay marriage they'd long awaited.

"As the race came into focus and the choice became clear, people have been rushing to support the president," said Andy Spahn, a political adviser to entertainment mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, who organized the Clooney event, as well as a top Obama fundraiser himself.

The gay marriage decision, he said, "will certainly add to the enthusiasm behind the president's campaign. It translates into more energy." And hopefully, dollars: "Funds are critical as we enter the summer months," he said, to counter the "super PAC" money flowing to Republican Mitt Romney. "The re-election is going to need these resources."

Hollywood's obvious happiness went beyond the mood at Thursday's fundraiser. Actress Marlo Thomas, for example, wrote a letter on the Huffington Post website saying: "Thank you, Mr. President, for this remarkable triumph." The co-creator of the monster TV hit "Glee," Ryan Murphy, signed on to host a fundraising dinner that will dovetail with the June 6 concert, featuring the singer Pink.

But does all the enthusiasm come at a cost? Obama's opponents tried as hard as they could in 2008 to make the candidate's Hollywood connections a liability, painting him as a celebrity darling hopelessly out of touch with ordinary Americans.

Most famous of those efforts: the John McCain campaign ad linking candidate Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. The ad was ridiculed by many -- the two celebs were no longer even current, some noted -- and parodied by Hilton herself. But the Obama campaign did downplay the role of celebrities at the Democratic National Convention that summer.

This time, there's already a similar ad circulating from the pro-GOP super PAC called American Crossroads. "Four years ago," it starts, "American elected the biggest celebrity in the world."

It shows Obama in dark sunglasses, Obama dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, Obama "slow-jamming" the news with late-night host Jimmy Fallon, Obama singing an Al Green song, and calling Kanye West a "jacks" for his Taylor Swift debacle.

Then in bold writing it asks: "After 4 years of a celebrity president is your life any better?"

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