All About the Money

This is a partial transcript of "The Big Story With John Gibson," November 15, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

JOHN GIBSON, HOST: A lot of big time political stars have been making it a point to visit Hollywood lately. We're talking about major power brokers from both parties, like Senators Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, John McCain, as well as DNC Chair Howard Dean.

It's all about 2006, 2008 and campaign cash. Joining us now is James Hirsen, author of "Tales from the Left Coast."

So James, this steady stream of Washington types to Hollywood is to come to get money. So, how do they do it? What's the routine?

JAMES HIRSEN, AUTHOR: Well it proves something, that Hollywood does have influence and power, despite silly statements made by celebrities on geo-politics.

And the way they do it is they go to the home of people like say Rob Reiner or Lawrence Bender or Norman Lear and invite a few of their friends who are very wealthy because there are a lot of successful, wealthy people in Hollywood.

For example, Hillary Clinton has come here twice in the last six months and pulled out hundreds of thousands of dollars in one of her trips and a million in the other.

So what that does is it reverberates through Washington, D.C., and it forms this amazing partnership, if you will, where politicians seek both the glamour and the money of Hollywood. They're seeking cash and celebrity cache, if you will.

GIBSON: I thought the lesson we learned from the last election was what Hollywood thinks doesn't count for a lot out in America.

HIRSEN: Well, you know, I think that people have that perception, judging by individual statements that are made by people like Sean Penn and Barbra Streisand.

But we know that the 527 groups blew a hole in campaign finance reform, putting Hollywood back on the map, financially. And we also know that celebrities have the ability to bring PR attention, press attention and to raise money by performing concerts. Maybe Barbara Streisand will come out of retirement for one of these candidates. And I would submit that John Kerry ...

GIBSON: Before I lose you, let me just, well, that is just what I was going to bring up. Two names, John Kerry and Al Gore are being touted again in Hollywood. Why?

HIRSEN: Well, in the case of Al Gore, Al Gore is sort of repackaging himself as this new relaxed, non-focus grouped Al Gore and Al Gore represents better the far left, which is the majority of the liberals in Hollywood.

John Kerry, Hollywood really didn't warm up to him in the last campaign until after he got the nomination. They were flirting with a lot of other people that were to the left of John Kerry.

But it just seems as though when David Geffen, who is a power broker in Hollywood, earlier this year voiced some dissent about Hillary Clinton, perhaps because Hillary Clinton is doing that little triangulation dance. And so, I think Hollywood is seeking some alternatives.

GIBSON: James, I get the picture, I've got to run.

James Hirsen, author of "Tales from the Left Coast." James, thanks a lot.

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