He was young, good looking, and photogenic. He swept to power against heavy odds on the back of a heart-warming, hopey-changey message, completing a rags-to-riches journey that might have come straight out of a blockbuster movie. It isn't hard to see why Barack Obama's election in 2008 was the toast of Hollywood.
Five-figure cheques poured into his coffers bearing such blue-chip names as Hanks, Clooney, and Spielberg. By this stage in the last election cycle, the entertainment industry's hearts, minds and wallets were already won.
Four years later? Not so much. When they enter the polling booths, the stars and the power brokers who run this town will still put their crosses against his name. But the sense of warm, fuzzy optimism that characterised his last election has more or less vanished.
Nowhere was the disillusionment more keenly felt than at the Beverly Wilshire hotel last night, as liberal Hollywood gathered for an exercise in champagne socialism. People for the American Way (PFAW) – perhaps the mostinfluential advocacy organisation in the US – planned to celebrate its 30th birthday in style, with the cost of a table at between £3,200 and £64,000.
The host was Alec Baldwin and the list of patrons, organisers and supporters on the invitation included everyone from J J Abrams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jon Hamm and Martin Sheen to Barbra Streisand, Kathleen Turner, Larry Flynt and Jamie Lee Curtis.
Among these pillars of the entertainment industry's liberal establishment, there is palpable frustration with the President; he has failed to deliver on almost all their pet issues, from gay marriage and climate change to human rights and social justice.
In fact, PFAW founder Norman Lear, an influential producer, last week responded with anger in an interview as Obama's name was mentioned.
"He can't make up his mind about anything," Mr Lear said. "He just vacillates. Like Democrats do generally.
"On taxes, he doesn't take a strong stand. He can't make up his mind about immigration. I don't even know if he's come clean on water-boarding or torture or any of those things."
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