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Biden teaming up with Obama, Clinton in New York City for major campaign fundraiser

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(NEW YORK) — President Joe Biden is teaming up with two of his Democratic predecessors — former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton — to ramp up enthusiasm for his reelection campaign at a star-studded fundraiser Thursday night in New York City.

The evening is expected to rake in more than $25 million, a “historic” sum for a single event, according to the campaign. It will begin with a virtual pre-program featuring Biden, Obama and Clinton, and hosted by Biden’s campaign manager.

Afterward, actress Mindy Kaling will host the program inside Radio City Music Hall featuring musical guests Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele. They will make appearances in front of a sold-out audience of 5,000 people. The campaign sent fundraising emails to supporters offering a link to tune in virtually in exchange for a donation.

First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to kick off the evening of performances that culminate with the main event: an armchair conversation with Biden, Obama and Clinton moderated by late-night comedian Stephen Colbert.

Tickets for the event ranged from $225 to $500,000. It could shape up to be the most lucrative event for Democrats in history.

Democrats are unified and energized behind President Biden’s reelection campaign — and that will be on full display this Thursday in New York City,” Biden-Harris spokesperson Kevin Munoz said. Munoz, in the statement, attacked Donald Trump, on the other hand, as lacking money and energy and facing challenges like reluctance from some GOP primary voters and criticism from his former vice president, Mike Pence.

The fundraiser is part of a major push by the campaign to raise a large sum of money before the end-of-month Federal Election Commission deadline to continue to show the president’s fundraising strength. The campaign said it and the Democratic National Committee, along with their joint fundraising committees, raised $53 million in February.

The event also comes as Biden continues to see protests while campaigning over his handling of the Israel-Hamas war, with a rally at a Virginia theater in January seeing at least 14 disruptions.

Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, helped to spearhead the Thursday event along with movie mogul and Biden campaign co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, campaign finance chair Rufus Gifford and Biden Victory Fund finance chair Chris Korge, according to the campaign.

Select guests will have the opportunity to have their portrait taken with the three presidents by the famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. There will also be a virtual conversation with the three presidents and campaign manager Julie Chavez Rodriguez, ahead of an after-party hosted by the first lady and featuring DJ D-Nice.

The star-studded evening comes as Biden ramps up campaigning for the general election with seven months to go. Since his State of the Union address, Biden has crisscrossed the country to visit battleground states in what the campaign is calling a “month of action.”

Last week, during a visit to the White House, Obama taped videos with Biden highlighting the 14th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and for future fundraising. The former president has been featured in two of the campaign’s digital ads so far this cycle, with more recorded and ready to roll out soon, according to the campaign.

The former president, who remains popular among Democrats’ base, has already proved to be a lucrative asset.

Grassroots fundraising content signed by or featuring Obama has generated more than $15.4 million for Biden’s reelection this cycle, according to the campaign, with a “Meet the Presidents” event featuring Obama and Biden in December raising close to $3 million.

The Thursday fundraiser is the first joint public campaign event for Biden and Obama. The former president is expected to participate in major fundraising events and travel the country on behalf of Biden leading into November.

Given the stakes of this election, President Obama will do all he can to support President Biden’s reelection,” Obama senior adviser Eric Schultz said. “In fact, he looks forward to helping Democrats up and down the ballot make the case to voters this fall. Our strategy will be based on driving impact, especially where and when his voice can help move the needle.”

Trump, meanwhile, is also fundraising off of the event, sending several emails as the Biden event was being planned with the subject line, “Obama is back!”

“I have something better,” he said in a pitch last month. “I HAVE YOU & MILLIONS OF PATRIOTIC AMERICANS WHO WANT TO MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

Katzenberg called Thursday’s event a “testament to the unprecedented fundraising machine we’ve built.”

“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,” his statement continued. “The numbers don’t lie: today’s event is a massive show of force and a true reflection of the momentum to reelect the Biden-Harris ticket.”

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