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Former Presidents Obama and Clinton Bring the Crowds for Biden

To hear the campaign tell it, the story isn't about Bill or Barack, but Biden's magnetic personality.

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Articles, Opinion, Politics

No matter the eyerolls, the groans, and the nearly uncountable face palms Democrats undoubtedly do off camera, they will still show up for President Joe Biden to drag him across the finish line if possible. Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton headlined a fundraising event in New York City yesterday, March 28, raising a cool $25 million in the largest one-time campaign extravaganza in presidential history.

The event was chock full of elitists and splashy leftist personalities hosted by progressive late-night staple Stephen Colbert, with appearances at the fanatical love fest from Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, and Lea Michele.

Well, as Bill Withers once crooned, “We all need somebody to lean on.”

Radio City Music Hall

The storied venue, Radio City Music Hall, was apparently rocking with or without the Rockettes. Let’s face it: Who doesn’t want to party with Bill Clinton sans Hillary? The setup, artists that attract the younger voters, and tiered ticket sales are a strong showing of energy – something candidate Biden is woefully devoid of. There was no short wave, grin, and off to nap. This party was reportedly hours long, with an after-party hosted by Mrs. Biden, who can stay up past 10 p.m. and spin records with someone named DJ D-Nice, who the first lady most assuredly had never heard of in polite conversation or anywhere.

All party fundraisers employ a sliding scale ticket price starting at $250 for the starstruck and more, but if one happy progressive can pony up $100,000 to get a picture with the three Democratic presidents, “It’s not going to be like any other picture that they have on their wall,” said Chris Korge, Biden Victory Fund national finance chair. “While Trump and the RNC are struggling to raise money, I believe this is going to be a very hot ticket, and this will be a sellout event. They’ll travel from as far away as possibly Asia.”

GettyImages-1690941061 Bill Clinton

Bill Clinton (Photo by John Nacion/WireImage)

If money is growing on the very few trees in the coastal enclaves, $250,000 gets access to one reception, and $500,000 makes it an exclusive experience. Strange as that may sound to some, why not if money is no barrier to a good time?

To hear the campaign tell it, the story isn’t about Bill or Barack. “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,” boasted Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-chair of the campaign. “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.”

Democrats remember the good economic days under Clinton and dismiss criticism as GOP hysteria. Similarly, Obama talked a good game and played hoops. Biden eats ice cream, shakes hands with invisible people, and must use the short stairs on Air Force One. Biden didn’t build or attract attendees to this unprecedented one-day juggernaut of political commitment. Katzenberg knows his campaign is presently in the gutter with historically low polling numbers across the board and losing nearly every swing state to former President Donald Trump

“There is everything to be gained by Joe Biden standing next to Bill Clinton and Barack Obama,” said Leon Panetta, who worked in the administrations of both former presidents. “That picture is worth a hell of a lot in politics today.” Panetta is correct. US politics depends on optics over policy most days. The grinning Irishman squished between two popular two-term presidents may have people holding out a bit longer on cutting ties.

Biden Props

Donald Trump is handily winning the delegates needed to put him in the ultimate race. But his fundraising numbers are behind Biden – not terribly significant, but negative, nonetheless. And Trump has caused division within the Republican Party, which is unlikely to be mended amid the mega MAGA movement. Former President Bush is keeping mum, and who knows how he will cast his ballot? Former Vice President Mike Pence is a flat-out “no.”

Trump does not have this show of force and support. He does, however, have a grassroots movement, and his greatest asset may be Joe Biden in all his gaffing glory. Number 45 has been relatively quiet on the financial disclosures the Democratic Party is gloating about. Still, the campaign released this statement through all the hubbub: “It’s no surprise the three Democrat stooges who have brought untold destruction to America are united by that misery.”

As is typical of Trump, he went and upstaged the glitzy event by attending the wake of New York City Police Officer Jonathan Diller, who had been shot in the line of duty, leaving behind a wife and small child.

In the game of political optics, it was a more presidential thing to do than party with the rockstars and “trot out some retreads like Clinton and Obama,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung put it.

Read More From Sarah Cowgill

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