"That sent him up the wall," an associate said of Geffen. "He had a thing about people who used him to prop themselves up."
Their friendship dissolved overnight. The DreamWorks executive sent a final $800,000 to honor his pledge to the Clinton library, but that was his last stipend. Geffen remained a loyal benefactor to other Democrats, even donating $5,000 to a PAC that aided Daschle, despite his opposition to the Peltier pardon.
Geffen shut down his donations to Hillary Clinton's Senate campaign and began saying she had no future as a presidential candidate. His recent criticisms of her were not the first.
"She can't win," Geffen said during a public forum at the 92nd Street Y in New York in 2002. "She's an incredibly polarizing figure. I think ambition is not a good enough reason."
By then, Geffen had met with a new Senate hopeful, Barack Obama of Illinois. DreamWorks' Spahn had been impressed and urged the two men to meet, so Geffen invited Obama to his Malibu home for a private dinner with several other Democratic Party supporters.
"They hit it off," Spahn recalled.
Meanwhile, Geffen had ended all contact with the Clintons.
According to one Clinton intimate, the former president tried to keep the relationship alive. "He called a bunch of times, but Geffen never called back," the Clinton associate said. "Eventually, he stopped trying."
Times staff writer Walter F. Roche Jr. in Washington contributed to this report.