Obama jokes with Clooney at starís gala

George Clooney played the suave host and President Barack Obama and about 150 of his Hollywood donors enjoyed a few laughs at Clooney's good-humoured expense.

The event at Clooney's sprawling home raised nearly $15 million, a record for a single fundraiser.

Obama told the crowd Thursday night that his famed Hope poster from his 2008 campaign was derived from a photograph of Obama sitting next to Clooney when Obama was a US senator. Clooney had been in Washington advocating on behalf of the Darfur conflict in Sudan.

"This is the first time that George Clooney has ever been photoshopped out of a picture,'' Obama said. "Never happened before, never happen again.''

In fact, the artist who created the poster, Shepard Fairey, used another photograph of Obama but said he relied on the Obama-Clooney picture to avoid a copyright infringement case with The Associated Press.

The guests paid $40,000 to attend, accounting for about $6 million of the evening's financial haul for Obama's campaign and the Democratic Party. The remainder came from a raffle for small-dollar donors. "We raised a lot of money because people love George,'' Obama said. "They like me; they love George.''

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