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Inside Politics

Hollywood activists stage anti-Bush bash

Event co-chair Laurie David, left, speaks to the media Tuesday night. ACT President Ellen Malcolm is in the background.
Event co-chair Laurie David, left, speaks to the media Tuesday night. ACT President Ellen Malcolm is in the background.

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• The Candidates: Bush | Kerry
America Votes 2004
America Coming Together
Media Fund
Political Action Committee

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Dedicated to defeating President Bush in 2004, two newly formed political action committees made up of actors and Hollywood activists huddled Tuesday night in Beverly Hills to outline their goals and to dispute conservative media characterizations of their motives.

America Coming together (ACT) and The Media Fund are "determined to bring people back into the political process" and, according to ACT President Ellen Malcolm, address the "extremism of the Republican policies ... and the impact of those policies on voters and their families."

Working with Malcolm in ACT are former AFL-CIO political director Steve Rosenthal, Service Employees Union President Andy Stern and the Sierra Club's executive director, Carl Pope.

Malcolm is also the president of EMILY's List, a lobbying group for pro-choice Democratic women.

The Media Fund is headed by Harold Ickes, a key White House political strategist for Bill Clinton who helped his wife, Hillary, get elected to the Senate.

At a Tuesday night news conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Malcolm said the work of the two groups will cost about $190 million, noting $40 million has been raised so far.

Some 300 invitations were sent out for the event, which thanks to some unexpected publicity, grew beyond expectations, organizers said. According to Malcolm, the event had to be moved to a larger room at the hotel, and several people wanting to attend had to be turned away.

On several occasions during a 20-minute news conference, group leaders said characterizations in the media that their groups are "Bush Haters" have been irresponsible.

Malcolm said one such report appeared on the Drudge Report Web site -- a conservative media portal. She called the report an example of the kind of misleading information that has been published about their group and was a "misrepresentation" of the facts.

Laurie David -- wife of "Seinfeld" creator Larry David and co-chair of the event -- thanked Matt Drudge for his report, saying it helped turn "a small gathering of political activists into a very large gathering of political activists."

Joining David as co-hosts at the event that was called a "Mandatory Meeting to Change the Leadership in America" were such backstage money-and-influence forces as Marge Tabenkin, political adviser to singer Barbra Streisand; Ari Emanuel, brother of Rep. Rahm Emanuel; screenwriter Naomi Foner; movie producer Robert Greenwald; and actress Michelle Lee.

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