May 11, 2012

(USAToday) -- A little political trivia: President Obama says the photo of him on a political poster with the word HOPE comes from an event in which he is sitting next to George Clooney.

"We struck up a friendship," Obama told Hollywood donors gathered at Clooney's house last night. "And this is the first time that George Clooney has ever been photo-shopped out of a picture.

"Never happened before ... Never happened before, will never happen again."

The president spent nearly four hours at Clooney's place last night, one of the longest fundraising stays in memory -- for one of his biggest fundraising hauls.

Obama raised nearly $15 million, including the $40,000-a-plate admission charge, as well as the proceeds from a contest for two "average Americans" to join the Hollywood crowd.

"Bottom line is I still believe in the American people and I still believe in you and I hope you still believe in me," Obama said. "Because I'm as determined as I've ever been to make sure that this country stays on the right path. We're moving forward, we're not going backward."

Obama also spoke about his decision this week to endorse gay marriage:
"Obviously yesterday we made some news. ... But the truth is it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be. It grew directly out of this difference in visions
Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger? Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren't like us? Does that make us stronger? I believe it does. So that's what's at stake."

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