Jun 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama to hold first virtual fundraiser for Biden

Barack Obama speaks at the Obama Foundation

Obama speaks at the Obama Foundation Summit in Chicago Oct. 29, 2019. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Barack Obama is making his fundraising debut for his former vice president with an online event next week, targeting tens of thousands of small-dollar donors, according to an invitation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: Obama's participation with Biden in the live, virtual event on June 23 marks the ramping up of the former president's engagement to try to defeat President Trump.

Details: In an invitation scheduled to go to supporters Monday evening, Obama is asking potential contributors to donate “any amount you can” for “the most important election of our lifetimes."

  • Rather than directly address the the protests against racial disparities in policing and the coronavirus, Obama asks for "Americans of all backgrounds and political stripes to join together."
  • He tells supporters that voting for Biden is a way to rebuild the economy, expand health insurance coverage and declare that "all of us are equal and each of us should have the chance to make of our lives what we will."
  • Obama endorsed his former vice president in April after Biden won the support of former rival Bernie Sanders. The campaign hasn't yet said how often Obama is expected to appear in person with Biden or on his behalf.
  • The campaign is looking to surpass a virtual event with former candidate Pete Buttigieg, which raised $1 million from approximately 36,000 donors.

Between the lines: The fundraiser is a warning shot for the Trump campaign and a preview of the one-two punch that Team Biden hopes to deliver leading up to the conventions and beyond.

  • But Obama's engagement also hints at a long, difficult campaign ahead. The Biden campaign knows that it will need the financial resources to compete with the Trump’s well-funded campaign — and the enthusiasm to get Democrats to the polls.
  • Biden and the Democratic Party announced an $81 million joint haul for May.
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