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Streisand headlines fundraiser for Obama

$28,500 a plate and $2500 a seat show comes on a day when the crisis in the U.S. economy remains an urgent issue for many Americans.
File photo of U.S. entertainer Barbra Streisand on the stage in Berlin
Entertainer Barbra Streisand, formerly a supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton for president, now supports her Democratic rival Barack Obama and has been outspoken in her criticisms of GOP candidate John McCain.Tobias Schwarz / Reuters
/ Source: The Associated Press

Barack Obama partied with Hollywood celebrities Tuesday night and with the help of Oscar-winning singer and actress Barbra Streisand raised an eye-popping $9 million for his presidential campaign and the Democratic Party.

The night was split into two glitzy events, a reception and dinner costing $28,500 each at the Greystone Mansion, followed by entertainment by Streisand at the nearby Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. About 250-300 people were expected at the dinner and about 800 at the entertainment, which cost $2,500 a ticket.

Dinner guests seen by reporters, or noted by waiters, included Will Ferrell, Jodie Foster, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Lee Curtis and DreamWorks founders Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.

It was a day of contrasts for Obama. Earlier in the day, the Democratic presidential candidate spoke about the public's deepening economic anxieties and portrayed Republican challenger John McCain as out of touch with the needs of hardworking people.

Then he flew to California for a night of hobnobbing with Hollywood notables.

McCain groused about Obama mixing it up with celebrities. He told a rally in Vienna, Ohio on Tuesday that Obama "talks about siding with the people, siding with the people just before he flies off to Hollywood for a fundraiser with Barbra Streisand and his celebrity friends. Let me tell you my friends, there's no place I'd rather be than here with the working men and women of Ohio."

A night earlier, McCain was with deep-pocketed donors in Florida and raised $5 million, a fact noted by Obama's campaign.

"I don't know who showed up down in Florida where he raised $5 million but my guess is that it wasn't a lot of nurses, firefighters and police officers," Obama's senior strategist, David Axelrod, told reporters. "The whole corporate lobbying community is rallying to his side. We're going to have to struggle to keep pace. You can't challenge that group and not expect them to have a lot of money."

While the final total was not determined, Obama's campaign did not dispute estimates that the twin events would bring in $9 million for Obama and the Democratic Party. That would be his second-biggest, fundraising day. Obama received $10 million from online donors the day after McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, delivered her speech at the Republican convention.

On another big fundraising night in California, Obama raised $7 million in August in San Francisco.

Obama is financing his presidential race with private contributions after abandoning a pledge to take public financing capped at $84 million. His campaign announced Sunday it had collected $66 million in August, a fundraising record for any presidential candidate in a monthlong period.

By comparison, McCain raised $47 million in August, a personal best for his campaign as well. After claiming the GOP nomination, McCain accepted the $84 million in taxpayer funds allotted by the public financing system for the race.