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Beverly Hills Barack

The Heat is On

So, with every moment of the candidates’ time precious and the presidential election likely to be decided by a handful of swing states in the Midwest and the Rockies, Barack Obama is headed for…Beverly Hills?

Yup:

Barack Obama has planned appearances at back-to-back Beverly Hills fundraisers Tuesday evening, with the events on track to raise more than $9 million combined, possibly breaking the single-day fundraising record.

…Much of the money raised at Tuesday’s twin events — a dinner reception at a historic estate, followed by a concert starring headliner Barbra Streisand — will go directly to the Democratic National Committee, while other dollars will be funneled into Obama’s own campaign coffers.

Well, at least nobody now will accuse Obama – who, you will recall, appointed his White House transition team back in July – of heading to Hollywood in the middle of campaign crunch season out of overconfidence. After all, he needs to keep raising an average of $3 million/day due to his, er, executive decision to skip public funding. And his donors aren’t so cocky anymore either:

Fear is also a great motivator. With the rapid rise of rival Sen. John McCain in the national polls over the past week and the hubbub surrounding his vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, a renewed sense of urgency has gripped Democrats. Those in the entertainment business seem especially aware that a new leading lady mysteriously dropped into the final act of a thriller can dramatically alter the previously predictable storyline.

“People are really scared that McCain is gaining,” said a Hollywood politico involved with Tuesday’s fundraiser. “In my 20 years here, I have never seen folks write checks like this.”

Of course, there are also few stories Hollywood knows better than the underdog who takes down a favorite who got overconfident.

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