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Biden's Fundraiser with Obama and Clinton Nets a Record $25 Million, His Campaign Says
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By Associated Press
Published 4 weeks ago on
March 28, 2024

A record-breaking fundraiser for President Biden, featuring Obama and Clinton, raises $25 million, demonstrating strong Democratic support. (AP/Alex Brandon)

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NEW YORK — A fundraiser for President Joe Biden on Thursday in New York City that also stars Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is raising a whopping $25 million, setting a record for the biggest haul for a political event, his campaign said.

Democratic Support for Biden

The eye-popping amount was a major show of Democratic support for Biden at a time of persistently low poll numbers. The president will test the power of the campaign cash as he faces off with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has already proved with his 2016 win over Democrat Hillary Clinton that he didn’t need to raise the most money to seize the presidency.

Radio City Music Hall Event

The Radio City Music Hall event will be a gilded exclamation mark on a recent burst of presidential campaign travel. Biden has visited several political battlegrounds in the three weeks since his State of the Union address served as a rallying cry for his reelection bid. The event also brings together more than three decades of Democratic leadership.

Obama hitched a ride from Washington to New York aboard Air Force One with Biden. They waved as they descended the plane’s steps at John F. Kennedy International Airport and got into the motorcade for the ride into Manhattan. Clinton was expected to meet them at the event.

Fundraiser Details

The hourslong fundraiser has different tiers of access depending on donors’ generosity. The centerpiece is an onstage conversation with the three presidents, moderated by late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert. There’s also a lineup of musical performers — Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele — that will be hosted by actress Mindy Kaling. Thousands are expected, and tickets are as low as $225.

More money gets donors more intimate time with the presidents. A photo with all three is $100,000. A donation of $250,000 earns donors access to one reception, and $500,000 gets them into an even more exclusive gathering.

“But the party doesn’t stop there,” according to the campaign. First lady Jill Biden and DJ D-Nice are hosting an after-party at Radio City Music Hall with 500 guests.

Biden’s Cash Advantage

Obama and Clinton are helping Biden expand his already significant cash advantage over Trump. Biden had $155 million in cash on hand through the end of February, compared with $37 million for Trump and his Save America political action committee.

The $25 million tally for the New York City event includes money from supporters who handed over cash in the weeks before the fundraiser for a chance to attend. It’s raising $5 million more than Trump raised during February.

“This historic raise is a show of strong enthusiasm for President Biden and Vice President Harris and a testament to the unprecedented fundraising machine we’ve built,” said campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg. “Unlike our opponent, every dollar we’re raising is going to reach the voters who will decide this election — communicating the president’s historic record, his vision for the future and laying plain the stakes of this election.”

Trump’s Fundraising Efforts

Trump’s campaign is expecting to bring in $33 million at a big fundraiser next week in Palm Beach, Florida, according to a person familiar with the details who spoke on condition of anonymity to confirm a number first reported by the Financial Times.

Trump has kept a low profile in recent weeks, partially because of courtroom appearances for various legal cases, the bills for which he’s paying with funds from donors. He was in the New York area on Thursday, attending the Long Island wake of a New York City police officer who was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Queens.

His next political rally is scheduled for Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Some Republican leaders have become concerned that his campaign doesn’t have the infrastructure ready for a general election battle with Biden.

Republican Party Chairman’s Statement

Republican Party Chairman Michael Whatley issued a statement suggesting that Biden doesn’t support law enforcement or safety.

“The contrast in leadership couldn’t be clearer,” Whatley said. “On the same day President Trump attended the wake of slain New York Police Department officer Jonathan Diller, Joe Biden wines and dines with celebrities at a fundraiser with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.”

The facts, said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, show that violent crime rose during Trump’s tenure while Biden’s administration has “done the polar opposite, taking decisive action from the very beginning to fund the police and achieving a historic reduction in crime.”

Importance of the Fundraiser

Leon Panetta, who served in top positions under Clinton and Obama, described the fundraiser as an important moment for Biden’s campaign.

“What it does, first and foremost, is to broaden and reinforce the support of all Democrats,” he said.

Panetta said Clinton and Obama, both known as effective political communicators, could help Biden develop a better pitch for his reelection.

“I can’t think of two people who would be better at putting together that kind of message,” he said.

Obama’s attendance Thursday is a reminder of his role in boosting Biden’s reelection. A joint fundraiser with Biden and Obama raised nearly $3 million in December. And people who served in the Obama administration are also raising money for Biden, scheduling their own event on April 11.

“Consider what you’ll donate this cycle and do it now,” said an email sent to a network of people. “Early money is far more valuable to the campaign.”

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