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President Obama jokes with George Clooney at star's gala fundraiser

BY JIM KUHNHENN, ASSOCIATED PRESS

LOS ANGELES -- George Clooney played the suave host, chef Wolfgang Puck whipped up something for dinner, and President Barack Obama and about 150 of his Hollywood set donors enjoyed a few laughs at Clooney's good humored expense.

Obama told the crowd that his famed Hope poster from the 2008 was derived from a photograph of Obama sitting next to Clooney when Obama was a U.S. senator. Clooney had been in Washington advocating on behalf of Darfur.

"This is the first time that George Clooney has ever been photo-shopped 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. He pleaded guilty in February to criminal contempt for fabricating and destroying evidence.

In this crowd, Obama didn't even need to mention gay marriage to get a vigorous applause. "Obviously," the president said obliquely, "yesterday we made some news."

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