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Biden raises $30 million at Hollywood fundraiser featuring Obama, campaign says

Biden holds fundraiser, Trump campaigns in Michigan
Biden holding L.A. fundraiser as Trump campaigns in Michigan 02:04

Within 24 hours, President Biden went from the G7 summit to George Clooney. Mr. Biden left Italy late Friday night and arrived in Los Angeles early Saturday morning ahead of a star-studded evening fundraiser with former President Barack Obama, talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, Clooney and actress Julia Roberts.

The Biden-Harris campaign said Sunday morning that they had raised $30 million, a record sum for a single Democratic fundraiser. It also eclipses the $26 million the Biden campaign raised from a March fundraiser in New York City with Mr. Biden, Obama and former President Bill Clinton. 

Biden Obama Kimmel los angeles fundraiser
President Biden stands with television host Jimmy Kimmel and former President Barack Obama onstage during a campaign fundraiser at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Saturday's star-studded affair featured a moderated interview of Biden and Obama by Kimmel that touched on healthcare, abortion and the Supreme Court. Kimmel has been a public advocate of the Affordable Care Act, passed during the Obama administration, after his newborn son had open-heart surgery in 2017. But the contrast between Mr. Biden and his Republican opponent, former President Donald Trump, was at the core of the programming.

"I could have done nothing and done better than he was doing," Mr. Biden said near the top of their discussion. 

Mr. Biden said whoever wins in November could find themselves appointing two Supreme Court justices, a reference to potential vacancies that could occur in the next four years. 

 "The Supreme Court has never been this out of kilter...this out of step," Mr. Biden said about the 6-3 majority conservatives currently have on the Supreme Court.  

Clooney and Roberts kicked off the pre-programming at Saturday's event. Appearances from musician Barbra Streisand as well as actors Jason Bateman, Jack Black, Kathryn Hahn and Sheryl Lee Ralph were also part of the entertainment before Mr. Biden's discussion with Obama and Kimmel.

Other celebrities, such as Keegan-Michael Key, Connie Britton, Misha Collins, Jeri Ryan, Jonathan Del Arco, Mandana Dayani, Blake Cooper Griffin and Adam Met, were among those also on the fundraiser's guest list, according to the Biden campaign. 

Prices for tickets at Saturday's event ranged from $250 to $500,000, though grassroots donors could chip in $20 to watch the fundraiser virtually. 

Hollywood actors have had a presence on the campaign trail in support of Biden in recent weeks. Robert De Niro took part in a May campaign press conference outside the lower Manhattan courthouse where former President Donald Trump's "hush money" trial was taking place. Ralph of "Abbott Elementary" campaigned with Vice President Kamala Harris in Pennsylvania, and Jane Fonda appeared at a campaign event in Reno, Nev. with first lady Jill Biden on Friday.

The money comes at a time when the race is tight between Biden and Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee. A CBS News poll from June found Mr. Biden up 1 point in the battleground states, a virtual tie. The Biden campaign says money raised Saturday will go to growing their grassroots operation (field offices, staffers) and towards paid media.

"This Saturday we are going to see an unprecedented and record-setting turnout from the media and entertainment world. The enthusiasm and commitment for Biden/Harris couldn't be stronger. We all understand this is the most important election of our lifetime," said Biden-Harris campaign co-chair and film producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. 

While Mr. Biden has held a sizeable cash advantage throughout most of the cycle, Mr. Trump has seen his own fundraising grow. His campaign says they raised $52.8 million in the 24 hours after he was convicted on 34 felony counts from his "hush money" trial.

The Trump campaign says they also raised a record-breaking $50.5 million at an April fundraiser in Florida. 

Mr. Clooney's involvement in the fundraiser brought some intrigue after the Washington Post reported in June that he had called a White House advisor to air grievances with Biden's criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Clooney's wife Amal works on. Biden has criticized the ICC's application for arrest warrants of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant.

Several days after, the Biden campaign sent out a fundraising text from Clooney. 

"I'm not exaggerating when I say that this election is the fight of our lives," the text blast from Clooney reads. "It's a choice between those who want to pull America back to the past, and those who want to move America into the future." 

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