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Republicans also
find Hollywood money

Republicans also
find Hollywood money

Republican Rudy Giuliani once derided Hollywood in his Senate bid against Hillary Rodham Clinton. Today, as he pursues the presidency, he's collecting checks from actors Adam Sandler and Kelsey Grammer and Paramount studio chief Brad Grey.

The entertainment industry has always been a fount of cash for political candidates--a whopping $27.5 million in the 2004 election cycle--and Democrats traditionally have been the top draw. In the last election $7 out of every $10 from the industry went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Yet, the latest campaign finance reports show Republicans making some inroads, not only with the handful of more conservative stars but also the generous Hollywood players hedging their bets.

Of the GOP candidates, Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, counted several big- and small-screen stars among his donors as well as producers and studio executives.

Sandler, who shares a love of the New York Yankees with Giuliani and tapped him for a cameo in his 2003 movie Anger Management, contributed $2,100. Frasier star Grammer and his wife donated $6,900. Mark Vahradian, who produced Annapolis for Paramount, gave $2,100. Writer-producer Lionel Chetwynd, an Oscar nominee for cowriting 1974's The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, gave more than $4,200.

Grey, who helped the mayor negotiate a book deal, kicked in $4,200 to Giuliani's campaign. The former executive producer of a Giuliani favorite--the acclaimed HBO mob drama The Sopranos--Grey also contributed to Clinton and Sen. Chris Dodd.

Hollywood would have been an unlikely source of money for Giuliani eight years ago.

In his short-lived Senate bid, the then-mayor scoffed at celebrity culture, saying of Clinton, ''She can have the Hollywood crowd.'' Throughout his two terms, Giuliani was no Hollywood favorite even though he sought to bring film dollars to the city.

He traded jabs with Rosie O'Donnell, criticized violence in movies, and scuttled plans for the launch party for Talk Magazine, partly owned by Miramax Films, at the city-owned Brooklyn Navy Yards. Clinton appeared on the cover of the magazine's first issue.

Asked if Giuliani was looking at Hollywood differently, officials with his campaign didn't respond directly.

''We are grateful for the support for Mayor Giuliani's leadership from across the country,'' spokesman Jarrod Agen said.

A West Coast trip for Thursday night's Republican debate at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif., provides Giuliani and the other GOP candidates a chance to pick up a few more checks.

Sen. John McCain has five fund-raisers in California, including a reception in Beverly Hills on Wednesday. Giuliani planned fund-raisers in Los Angeles and Orange County. Mitt Romney chose another Hollywood venue to increase his visibility--he planned to trade jokes with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show.

In the three-month period in which the candidates raised money--Giuliani nearly $15 million--the Hollywood cash was more curio than cascade for the GOP. Former Reagan White House aide Kenneth Khachigian says only half-jokingly that you can count the Republicans in Hollywood on your fingers.

It's Democrats such as Clinton and Illinois senator Barack Obama who are banking the expected windfall from the left-leaning entertainment industry.

Obama has gotten checks from Tom Hanks, Tobey Maguire, Eddie Murphy, Edward Norton Jr., Morgan Freeman, and Ben Stiller, among others. In February he held a closed-door fund-raiser arranged by DreamWorks studio founders Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen.

''It's like a night at the Oscars'' when Clinton or Obama hold fund-raisers, Khachigian says. Because of Hollywood's liberal complexion, conservatives ''just don't speak out.''

An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks campaign finance, found that Democrats took in more than $4 from donors in the movie, music, or TV business for each dollar contributed to GOP candidates. Clinton led the list with $837,000, followed by Obama with $687,000. Among other leading candidates, John Edwards banked $322,000; McCain $244,000; and Giuliani, $108,000. Mitt Romney had $73,000.

McCain lists a single actress, Mindy Stearns, but also received donations from producers including Jerry Bruckheimer and Lorne Michaels. Bruckheimer produced Hollywood blockbusters like Beverly Hills Cop, Pearl Harbor, and Top Gun. Michaels is the creator and producer of NBC's Saturday Night Live. McCain has been a host on the long-running show.

Romney had only a single donor in the first-quarter report listed as an actor, Tamara Gustavson, though he collected money from producers and writers. (Michael R. Blood, AP)

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