President Obama hung out with Gwyneth Paltrow at her Brentwood home Thursday night for a $15,000 a plate dinner benefiting the Democratic National Committee.
Paltrow introduced Obama to the crowd of about 200, including Julia Roberts and Bradley Whitford, gushing, “I am one of your biggest fans, if not the biggest.”
The actress, who announced the “conscious uncoupling” from her husband Chris Martin in March, also told the president, “You’re so handsome that I can’t speak properly.”
Citing equal pay and sustainable energy, Paltrow stressed, “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.”
With occasional references to her children Apple and Moses, Obama thanked Paltrow for her 2012 effort raising funds for his re-election among expats in London. “I wanted to go, but they said there are no voters that I can knock on doors in London,” he quipped.
The president called it “an interesting time in American history,” with headlines “dominated by news overseas.”
“We’re seeing a lot of tumult all around the world. The Middle East is moving away from an existing order towards something new, but that process is messy and dangerous,” he said. “And what we’re seeing with ISIL I think is an expression of some of the challenges we have in societies that have divided along sectarian lines, and young people who aren’t seeing any other opportunity other than hoisting a rifle, and a breakdown in basic order. And we are looked to to try to make sure that we rebuild something that can sustain itself.”
“And when I was at the United Nations last week, or two weeks ago, it was the United States that had to mobilize the world community to make sure we were going after ISIL and putting an end to the kind of barbaric killing that we’ve been seeing there.”
Obama moved to the Ebola crisis in West Africa, “where children not much older, and in some cases younger, than Apple and Moses, are dying on the streets alone.”
“Although I want to assure everybody that the likelihood of any epidemic in the United States is extraordinarily small,” he stressed.
Obama also said his administration had “mobilized the world community to blunt Russian aggression.”
“So what was striking when I was at the United Nations General Assembly is, despite sometimes the complaining that you get about the United States, and despite folks liking or enjoying picking out flaws and problems in our policies, when there’s a crisis around the world they don’t call Moscow, they don’t call Beijing — they call the United States of America,” he continued.
“We remain the one indispensable nation not just because we have capabilities that nobody else has, not just because of the strength of our military and our reach, but because of our values and because of our principles and ideals, and the things that we stand for.”
Obama said he was out campaigning because “imagine what we could do with a Congress that operated on some common sense.”
“Imagine what we could do not just on any particular issue — although it would make a huge difference for us right away to be able to pass comprehensive immigration reform, or to pass a minimum wage law, or pass a fair pay law — but just in terms of the mood of the country; in terms of people believing that once again we can do something in common,” he said. “Believing that we can rise above narrow, ideological interests. Believing that we can match the decency and common sense of the American people with our politics.”