Sarah Palin stirs passion in Hollywood

Thu Sep 11, 2008 3:23pm EDT
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By Sue Zeidler

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sarah Palin represents many things Hollywood liberals love to hate, from her opposition to gay marriage to her support for gun rights, yet she possesses two key qualities they admire -- star appeal and a great script.

Accordingly, Hollywood Republicans -- often overshadowed by their left-leaning peers -- are seeking to capitalize on the celebrity of John McCain's running mate in the November 4 election to generate support in a town well-known for its lavish Democratic fund-raisers and events.

"She's certainly got star appeal and is the kind of candidate that is made for Hollywood. I offered to throw her a fundraiser myself," said MGM chief Harry Sloan, one of Hollywood's most vocal Republicans.

Palin has shaken up the White House race, boosted enthusiasm among previously apathetic supporters of McCain's presidential nomination and drawn support from women, rural voters and Southerners, according to recent polls.

Sloan said there were no plans for a Palin Hollywood fundraiser yet as her campaign managers were inundated with similar requests from all over the country after her national debut at the Republican National Convention on September 3.

A campaign spokesman would not disclose McCain and Palin's movements beyond one week's time, but various Hollywood executives said they heard the Arizona senator and Alaska governor would be swinging through California later this month or early next month.

Democratic candidates have long enjoyed a fundraising advantage in Hollywood. Through the end of July, Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama raised $5.2 million from the entertainment industry, compared with McCain's $885,000, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

"It's like 10 to 1 here in terms of performing artists who support Obama versus McCain. There are a significant group of Republican supporters in Hollywood, but they're just not as outspoken," said political analyst Allan Hoffenblum.   Continued...

<p>Republican vice presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin blows a kiss to her family during her address at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 3, 2008. REUTERS/ Damir Sagolj</p>