Columbia, S.C. — Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign raised more than $100,000 Saturday night at a fundraiser that brought together the upper echelon of South Carolina Democratic politics, an informed source told CBS News.
The fundraiser was organized and hosted by state Sen. Richard "Dick" Harpootlian, a former state party chairman and one of the state's most influential powerbrokers. Among those in attendance were Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin; state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, who ran against Nikki Haley for governor twice; and former state Rep. James Smith, the party's 2018 gubernatorial nominee. State Sens. Mia McLeod, Gerald Malloy and J. Thomas McElveen also attended, as did numerous high-powered attorneys and businesspeople.
The Biden campaign declined to comment about the amount raised at the fundraiser. Bidenwithin 24 hours of entering the race in April.
While the fundraiser was held in Harpootlian's home in the state capital's elegant Wheeler Hill neighborhood, the event itself was anything but fancy, according to the attendee. Under federal election law, a husband and wife may each spend up to $1,000 each on food and beverages for a fundraiser held in their home per election cycle without having the expenditure be considered a political contribution.
Donors were left drinking domestic beers, "inexpensive wine" and Southern foods like "tiny pecan pies" and slices of tomato pie, the attendee said.
According to the pool report from inside the fundraiser, one donor told Biden he should hit President Trump back with a nickname of his own.
"There's so many nicknames I'm inclined to give this guy," Biden said to laughter in the room. "You can just start with 'clown.'"
Regarding his portfolio of international experience, Biden, according to the report, compared himself to former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"I think, whether I'm right or not, I know as much about American foreign policy than anyone around, including even maybe Kissinger," Biden said. "I say that because I've been doing it my entire adult life."
The fundraiser on Saturday was at least the second private fundraiser Biden has attended since announcing his campaign 10 days ago. He drew criticism from some of his Democratic rivals for a high-dollar fundraiser in Philadelphia on the day he announced his candidacy. It was hosted by David Cohen, who is the head of lobbying for Comcast, although he is not a registered lobbyist. Biden has pledged not to accept campaign donations from lobbyists.
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