If one thing was apparent about President Clinton's weekend in Los Angeles, it was that the theme of the visit was money.
Clinton dined at a Beverly Hills mansion, golfed at a country club and ate breakfast at a beachfront Santa Monica home--all with wealthy Democratic donors. And then he got down to the real business of the trip: a star-studded $600,000 fund-raiser Sunday night for California's Democratic delegation to the House of Representatives.
The weekend coincided with new allegations that a major Democratic donor gave a $50,000 check to the first lady's chief of staff on White House grounds in 1995 in response to solicitations by aides of Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Despite such controversy, the ardor of at least one Hollywood celebrity at Sunday's fund-raiser had not been dampened.
"I don't feel there's a stigma" to attending fund-raisers, said actor-director Rob Reiner, "otherwise, I wouldn't be doing it. And if there is a stigma, there is no basis for it."
Reiner said that until the laws change, politicians have no choice but to continue making pitches for money, and donors have no choice but to continue giving. "Until we reform campaign finance, what is one party supposed to do, unilaterally disarm?" he asked.
Clinton, like Reiner, showed no hesitation at hurling himself into the political fund-raising business. Soon after he arrived in Los Angeles on Saturday, he headed to the Beverly Hills home of a wealthy donor, Lew Wasserman, the former head of the entertainment and media company MCA, for a private dinner.
On Sunday he played golf at the Hillcrest Country Club in Century City with former Democratic National Committee finance chief Truman Arnold. His other golf partners included Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and television and film producer Bud Yorkin.
Earlier in the day, Clinton had breakfast at the Santa Monica beach house of another prominent supporter, supermarket baron Ron Burkle. Burkle, owner of the Ralphs supermarket chain and other grocery stores, held an elaborate fund-raiser at his Beverly Hills estate for Clinton in September, with performances by such luminaries as Tom Hanks and Barbra Streisand.
By that standard, Sunday's fund-raiser, hosted by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, was a modest affair.
Almost all of California's Democratic House members attended, along with such celebrities as Nancy Sinatra, Morgan Fairchild and playwright Neil Simon.
Reiner, who attended with his wife, said he was hardly shocked by allegations that foreign countries had tried to influence American politics. He would object, he said, only if it could be proved that any such efforts had been "sanctioned and abetted" by a political party or candidate.
Reiner conceded that it had become more difficult to enlist other celebrities to engage in politics. "With all the stuff going on, we've got to bail this party out, and it's very tough. Your patience does get tried. But ultimately, it is still the best system, and you've got to be supportive."