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Clinton hits all Democratic bases in L.A.

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LOS ANGELES — As a warm-up to the Democratic National Convention, President Clinton is touching all his party's traditional donor and voter bases this weekend — labor, the Hispanic, black and Jewish communities and Hollywood, too.

He even squeezed in a Saturday morning golf game with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican, and Terry McAuliffe, the loyal Clinton fund-raiser credited with raising millions from Hollywood and other sources for the convention that begins Monday.

The game was in lieu of a scheduled round of television interviews. Clinton canceled those amid quiet grumbling that his long, full schedule in Los Angeles was stealing some of Vice President Al Gore's thunder.

White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said the interviews were canceled in part to head off too many questions about "process," meaning too many questions about Clinton's role in the Gore campaign.

"All he wants to talk about is his speech," Lockhart said. Clinton addresses the convention Monday night.

Clinton's five days in Los Angeles include dozens of meetings, speeches and get-togethers. Some are public, most are not.

The president's schmoozing time with Hollywood moguls and stars is probably the most talked-about aspect of his stay. He has long been locked in a happy, lucrative embrace with Hollywood, and this weekend he is trying to share the wealth with the two candidates closest to him — Gore and New York Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton attended a star-studded, late-night concert Saturday that was expected to raise at least $1 million for his wife's campaign. More than two dozen "tribute speakers" and performers were scheduled.

About 1,000 guests at the luxurious home of real estate executive Ken Roberts sat on specially made directors chairs labeled "Hollywood Tribute to William Jefferson Clinton" on a hillside lawn overlooking the city. Guests paid $1,000 each to attend the concert; about 300 couples paid $25,000 to attend a dinner afterward with Clinton.

In between the tribute speakers and performers, guests were shown snippets of a re-edited "Man From Hope" video on Clinton that was featured at the 1992 Democratic nominating convention. The updated version intercut new interviews with Clinton in which the president reflected on his early childhood and his start in politics.

A host of speakers included Red Buttons, Shirley MacLaine and Rosa Parks. Performers ranged from crooners Paul Anka and Michael Bolton to Motown diva Diana Ross, pop diva Cher and rocker Melissa Etheridge.

For good measure, the president's speech came with warm-up remarks from comic book mogul Stan Lee and actor John Travolta.

Clinton's dance card also includes a lavish brunch Sunday at the Malibu home of singer and Democratic patron Barbra Streisand that is expected to collect $10 million for Clinton's presidential library.

The White House and Democratic Party officials say many of Clinton's appearances are unofficial "thank-you" sessions with past donors. Although organizers hope that face time with the president will help free up more dollars in the future, there is no admission price for the sessions.

Clinton's official public schedule includes one event apiece designed to lure or honor Jewish, black and labor donors and two events with a mostly Hispanic audience, including Friday night's speech to a fund-raising party benefiting Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif. Clinton threw a few partisan jabs, praised Gore and struck a nostalgic note for the end of his White House tenure.

"I'm not telling you this as your president, I'm telling you this as your friend," Clinton said. "Los Angeles and this state have been wonderful to me and to my family and to my administration."