Apr 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden, Obama aiming for glitzy fundraiser in L.A.

Obama and Biden standing together

Photo: Courtesy Biden-Harris campaign

The Biden campaign is in talks with former President Obama about appearing with President Biden at a star-studded Los Angeles fundraiser in mid-June, according to people familiar with the plan.

Why it matters: It's set to be the Hollywood sequel — currently with just two presidents — of the "three presidents" show in New York City that featured Biden, Obama and former President Clinton last month.

  • That event brought in $26 million for Biden's re-election effort, setting a fundraising record for Democrats in a single evening, according to Biden aides.
  • Given Katzenberg's role as a co-chair of Biden's campaign — and his deep connections in the movie industry — Democrats are optimistic that the Biden-Obama appearance, plus a smattering of stars, will lead another historic fundraising haul.
  • Other big names, including Julia Roberts, also might attend, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • Additional joint presidential events with Biden and Clinton are in the works, the sources said.
  • The Biden campaign declined to comment.

The intrigue: After Biden's "three president" event, former President Trump's campaign held its own big-dollar fundraiser, hosted by hedge fund billionaire John Paulson.

  • Trump's camp claimed it raised $50 million, but that also included donations to Trump's super PAC, which can accept unlimited donations.

Zoom out: The Biden-Harris campaign has used a range of resources, including the White House, to amass a mammoth money advantage over Trump, who for weeks is tethered to a New York courtroom as a criminal defendant and is racking up huge legal bills.

  • At the end of March, Biden's campaign and the Democratic National Committee had some $192 million in cash-on-hand in their election accounts.
  • Trump's team finished the first quarter of 2024 with $93 million cash-on-hand after raising $65 million in March.
  • Biden's campaign is built on the theory that most voters eventually will support Biden once they process the possible return of Trump — and the drama of the criminal trials he faces.
  • The campaign plans to spend up to $2 billion touting Biden's accomplishments and warning about a Trump return.

Zoom in: Biden's campaign spent about $25 million last fall, largely on ads that tried to improve perceptions on his handling of the economy.

  • Those ads didn't appear to give Biden a bump in the polls, but this spring his post-State of the Union push — and a $30 million ad blitz — may be moving the numbers in Biden's direction.

What they're saying: "We're in pretty good shape in the polls," Biden said at a campaign event in Tampa on Tuesday.

  • "In the last 23 national polls, I've been ahead in 10 of them, Trump has been ahead in eight, and we've been tied in five," Biden said, citing a recent Marist survey that had him leading Trump by 3 points. "More importantly, the momentum is clearly in our ... favor."

Flashback: In August 2020, a virtual fundraiser hosted by Clooney and Katzenberg raised $7 million for Biden.

  • At the White House in 2022, Biden honored Clooney with Kennedy Center Honors award. "One thing I respect about George is his deep empathy," Biden said.

Go deeper: Biden is also relying on Obama to help him raise money with small-dollar donors, appearing in a series of folksy digital ads that hit social media last week.

Go deeper