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Obama reiterates gay marriage vow, teases Clooney

11 may 2012, 10:30
US President Barack Obama reiterated his defense of gay marriage Thursday at a star-studded fundraiser in Hollywood, saying it was part of "what America is supposed to be", AFP reports.

Speaking at George Clooney's mansion in the Hollywood Hills -- tipped to make close to a record-breaking $15 million -- he also paid warm tribute to his host, while poking gentle fun at the A-list actor.

"Obviously yesterday we made some news," Obama said to applause, referring to his public endorsement of gay marriage. "But the truth is it was a logical extension of what America is supposed to be.

"It grew directly out of this difference in visions. Are we a country that includes everybody and gives everybody a shot and treats everybody fairly and is that going to make us stronger?

"Are we welcoming to immigrants? Are we welcoming to people who aren't like us, does that make us stronger? I believe it does. So that's what's at stake," he added.

Obama paid tribute to Clooney, and to DreamWorks Animation chief Jeffrey Katzenberg who organized the fundraiser.

"I want to thank Clooney for letting us use his basketball court. This man has been talking smack about his basketball game, ever since I've known him," he said.

Referred to the semi-iconic "Hope" poster from 2008 by Shepard Fairey, Obama said: "People don't realize that the photograph of me is actually me sitting next to George," who was advocating on behalf of Darfur.

"We struck up a friendship. This is the first time that George Clooney has actually been photoshopped out of a picture," he quipped, to big laughs. "Never happened before, will never happen again," he added.

In fact, Fairey did a poster for Clooney with both men on the same picture, Obama revealed. "Why he said at the bottom, 'dope and hope,' I don't know", he joked.

"We raised a lot of money because everybody loves George. They like me, they love him. And rightfully so.

"Not only is he an unbelievable actor, but he is one of those rare individuals who is at ease with everybody, he seems to occupy a constant state of grace, and uses his extraordinary talents on behalf of something truly important."

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