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Biden holds record-breaking New York City fundraiser with Barack Obama and Bill Clinton

Biden in New York for massive fundraiser
Biden in New York for massive fundraiser 02:02

President Biden participated in a star-studded fundraiser with former Democratic Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton on Thursday in New York City in an event expected to raise more than $25 million for the president's re-election campaign.

Thursday's New York City fundraiser at Radio City Music Hall was hosted by actress Mindy Kaling and featured performances by several musical guests and artists, including Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Cynthia Erivo and Lea Michele. The event was capped off with a nearly hourlong discussion between Mr. Biden, Obama and Clinton moderated by "The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert. 

Obama accompanied Mr. Biden on the Air Force One flight from Washington, D.C., to New York earlier in the day.  

Election 2024 Biden
Stephen Colbert, left, speaks as President Joe Biden, and former presidents Barack Obama, and Bill Clinton participate in a fundraising event at Radio City Music Hall on Thursday, March 28, 2024. Alex Brandon / AP

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and first lady Jill Biden also delivered remarks during the event. 

Schumer touted several of Mr. Biden's accomplishments and spoke of the potential for not just the president's re-election, but for Democrats to control all three branches of government with key wins in the 2024 election.

"Re-elect Joe Biden as president, put Hakeem Jeffries as Speaker, keep me as Majority Leader, and the next four years will be better than this. You ain't seen nothing yet," the Senate majority leader said.

The first lady, joined by several other members of the Biden family, recalled that after she agreed to marry Mr. Biden, "He said, 'Jill, I promise you, your life will never change.' Well that, of course, turned out to be wildly untrue."

She also spoke of the large sum raised for her husband's campaign.

"This is the biggest fundraiser the DNC has ever held – the fundraiser to end all fundraisers – and we've raised a record amount," Jill Biden said.

Mr. Biden, Obama and Clinton discussed a wide variety of topics, from the economy to the border to the Jan. 6, 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol, which Mr. Biden bluntly referred to as an insurrection. 

"I was supposed to make a speech on the economy, and I decided I couldn't remain silent," Mr. Biden said. "So what I did was I made a speech about January the sixth, what was happening. And I said it was an insurrection underway, and it must be dealt with and I plead with the president to stop and do his job, call these people off. He sat there in the dining room off the Oval Office for several hours and watched, didn't do a damn thing. That's why I felt obliged even though I wasn't sworn in yet. I was president-elect."

The fundraiser was interrupted by demonstrators protesting against the war in Gaza multiple times, and one who appeared to be yelling something about nuclear with Russia, throughout the night. One interruption came while Obama was discussing Gaza, to which he replied "You can't just talk and not listen," leading the audience to give him a standing ovation.

"It is also possible for us to have our hearts broken watching innocent people being killed and try to manage through that in a way that ultimately leads to both people being able to live in peace side by side," Obama said. "That is not an easy thing."

"It is important for us to understand that it is possible to have moral clarity and have deeply held beliefs, but still recognize that the world is complicated and it is hard to solve these problems," the former president added.

There were also Pro-Palestinian protests outside the music hall, CBS News New York reported. The New York Police Department told CBS News one person was detained. There was no word on why.

The demonstrators were chanting and screaming their messages, directing their anger toward Mr. Biden and, at times, at police officers.

Mr. Biden reiterated his support for Israel and its right to self defense, but said there were "too many innocent victims" and that more aid needs to get into Gaza. Mr. Biden also expressed support for a two-state solution.

"It's understandable there's such a profound anger, and Hamas is still there, but we must in fact, stop the effort resulting in significant deaths of innocent civilians, particularly children," Mr. Biden said.

The campaign has billed the event as the "most successful political fundraiser in American history." 

During a swing through Texas earlier this month, the Biden campaign raised a combined $7 million from three separate fundraisers. A fundraiser for Mr. Biden in Raleigh, North Carolina, on Tuesday raised $2.3 million. 

Mr. Biden's largest single-day haul prior to Thursday came in the 24 hours after his State of the Union address earlier in March, when he raised $10 million, according to his campaign.

But Thursday's staggering sum is a new record for the campaign, and it further illustrates the growing cash gap between Mr. Biden and his presumptive general election opponent, former President Donald Trump. 

Obama accompanied Mr. Biden on the Air Force One flight from Washington, D.C., to New York earlier Thursday.
President Biden and former President Barack Obama step off Air Force One upon arrival at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City on March 28, 2024. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

Trump raised $20 million in the whole month of February and $8.8 million in January. He's also been dogged by legal bills and payments, with his campaign and the political action committees supporting him spending over $10 million in legal fees this year.

Mr. Biden's campaign committees have more than double the cash on hand of Trump's equivalent groups, $155 million for Mr. Biden and $74 million for Trump as of late March.

"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," said Biden-Harris campaign co-chair and Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg. 

Trump's campaign sent out two fundraising emails Wednesday mentioning Mr. Biden's Thursday fundraiser, with one calling on "one million Trump supporters to donate to beat the "Obama-Clinton cartel" and the other reading, "We can't lose to Obama!"

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