3 presidents. Many stars. 1 New York fundraiser


WASHINGTON — Political donors can typically expect to see one president when they buy tickets to a reelection fundraiser, but this Thursday will give them a rare opportunity to hear from three at once.

President Joe Biden will be joined by Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at Radio City Music Hall in New York City for an event that brings together more than three decades of Democratic leadership.

The fundraiser will be a gilded exclamation mark on a recent burst of presidential campaign travel. Biden has visited every political battleground in the three weeks since his State of the Union address served as a rallying cry for his reelection bid.

The New York City affair is an hours-long event with 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.

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

“Democrats are unified and energized behind President Biden’s reelection campaign — and that will be on full display this Thursday in New York City,” Kevin Munoz, a campaign spokesman, said in a statement. “Donald Trump has no juice heading into the general: Huge chunks of Republican primary voters have made clear they have no interest in voting for him this November, Republican leaders like his own vice president are openly opposing him, and even if Trump wanted to reach them (he does not!), he has no cash or energy to do so.”

Trump has kept a low profile in recent weeks, partially because of courtroom appearances for various legal cases. 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 spokesman, 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.

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 former president’s administration are also raising money for Biden, scheduling their own event for 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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