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Tonight's Biden Fundraiser With Obama and Clinton Already Nets a Record $25 Million
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By Associated Press
Published 3 weeks ago on
March 28, 2024

Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton are teaming up with President Joe Biden for a glitzy reelection fundraiser Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

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WASHINGTON — 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.

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.

Star-Studded Event at Radio City Music Hall

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.

The hours long event 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 Over Trump

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 Thursday includes money from supporters who handed over cash in the weeks ahead of 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 Campaign Concerns

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 is also expected to be in the 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.

Steven Cheung, a Trump campaign spokesperson, dismissed the import of Biden’s Thursday fundraiser.

“Crooked Joe is so mentally deficient that he needs to trot out some retreads like Clinton and Obama,” he said.

Importance of the Fundraiser for Biden’s Campaign

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 on 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 that went out to a network of people. “Early money is far more valuable to the campaign.”

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