Here is how Barack Obama shored up the delicate egos of the Hollywood moguls and stars who gathered to kick in $1.3 million towards his bid for the White House:

“Don?t sell yourselves short: You are the storytellers of our age . . . . What an enormous power that is. What an enormous responsibility.”

Deliciously, it’s Hollywood that produced the first misstep in the Obama campaign, when David Geffen tried out his storytelling skills on columnist Maureen Dowd (a friend of mine says that most of Maureen’s columns are a cry for help – but I bet she’d agree that this one is good). Geffen compared Obama to the Clintons:

“David Geffen and Bill Clinton were tight as ticks. Mr. Geffen helped raise some $18 million for Bill and slept in the Lincoln Bedroom twice. Bill chilled at Chateau Geffen. Now, the DreamWorks co-chairman calls the former president ‘a reckless guy’ who ‘gave his enemies a lot of ammunition to hurt him and to distract the country.’

“They fell out in 2001, when Mr. Clinton gave a pardon to Marc Rich after rebuffing Mr. Geffen’s request for one for Leonard Peltier. ‘Marc Rich getting pardoned? An oil-profiteer expatriate who left the country rather than pay taxes or face justice?’ Mr. Geffen says. ‘Yet another time when the Clintons were unwilling to stand for the things that they genuinely believe in. Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it’s troubling.'”

I though it was a mistake for Campaign Hill to reply to this barb, but John Podhoretz makes a good case that Hill spokesman Howard Wolfson knew what he was doing:

“‘If Senator Obama is indeed sincere about his repeated claims to change the tone of our politics, he should immediately denounce these remarks, remove Mr. Geffen from his campaign and return his money,’ Wolfson said.

“The purpose of Wolfson’s blast was to get Obama’s goat and provoke a response.

“And, like the novices they apparently are, the Obama-ites swallowed Wolfson’s bait, hook, line and sinker.

“Obama’s campaign spokesman fired back, ‘We aren’t going to get in the middle of a disagreement between the Clintons and someone who was once one of their biggest supporters. It is ironic that the Clintons had no problem with David Geffen when was raising them $18 million and sleeping at their invitation in the Lincoln Bedroom.’

Podhoretz argues that this is the end of Obama’s “positive” campaign.