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Joe Biden

$100K photos, Colbert and a fashion doyenne: Details of the Biden fundraiser with three presidents

A March 28 first-of-its-kind fundraiser featuring Presidents Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton is expected to raise more than $10 million and draw at least 3,000 people.
Then-President Barack Obama, then-Vice President Joe Biden and former president Bill Clinton
President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and former President Bill Clinton at the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston on July 2, 2010.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images file

A first-of-its kind fundraiser featuring three Democratic presidents this month is shaping up to be among the most lucrative in party history, according to a key organizer, forecast to raise more than $10 million and draw at least 3,000 people.

In an interview, Biden Victory Fund national finance chair Chris Korge laid out specifics of the March 28 soiree at Radio City Music Hall in New York featuring President Joe Biden and former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.  

While tickets will sell for as little as $250, the premier perks will go to the high rollers. The cost for a chance to pose in a photo with all three Democratic presidents at once? $100,000 and up. Those who donate at the $250,000 and $500,000 levels will also have access to two separate receptions with the presidential trio. 

Stephen Colbert, the host of CBS' “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” is to hold what's expected to be a lively conversation with the three presidents as the centerpiece of the event. Musical guests are also in the works, as is a podcast tied to the event, according to a Democratic source who said an online component for a contest to win tickets and accommodations for the fundraiser is already driving smaller donations.

Korge, a veteran Democratic fundraiser who was the national finance chair for Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016, said: “This is going to be the biggest fundraising event that Joe Biden has done in his political career. I believe it’s the largest fundraising event in Democratic Party history. It’s also the only time that three [Democratic] presidents have done a [campaign] fundraiser together.” 

Korge said Condé Nast Editorial Director Anna Wintour is among those who have handled some of the behind-the-scenes planning. Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, Biden campaign fundraisers Michael Pratt and Colleen Coffey and Biden campaign finance chair Rufus Gifford have all been instrumental, he said.

The idea to bring the three presidents together came from onetime Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry, a longtime Democratic donor, and his son Alex, a onetime U.S. Senate candidate in Wisconsin, before Alex Lasry took a job in December with the Biden administration. In 2012, the Lasrys hosted Clinton and Obama at a joint New York fundraiser.  

In the coming event, a photo with the three presidents is expected to be the most sought-after prize among big donors, Korge said. 

“It’s not going to be like any other picture that they have on their wall,” Korge said. “While Trump and the RNC are struggling to raise money, I believe this is going to be a very hot ticket and this will be a sellout event. They’ll travel from as far away as possibly Asia.” 

Democrats have outpaced Republicans in fundraising in recent months, even as former President Donald Trump also faces mounting legal costs. The Republican National Committee ended 2023 with an $8 million balance, while the Democratic National Committee closed out the year with $21 million on hand.  

Marc Lasry said Monday that after he and his son held an event in Milwaukee for Vice President Kamala Harris last year, they brainstormed about a unique event for Biden. Alex Lasry came up with the idea of having a presidential trifecta, recalling the success of their 2012 dual-presidential event, and then they pitched Democratic leaders.

“I think they're going to be turning away people," Marc Lasry said. "For people who are involved in politics, for people who love politics, the opportunity to be with the last three Democratic presidents … is something that's unique. It’ll be, for all of us, probably the only time we get to do that in our lifetime.”

In an interview Monday, Harrison chided Republicans, saying a fundraiser featuring three presidents shows a contrast between the two parties, with Democrats united and the GOP splintering. Nikki Haley has prolonged the Republican presidential primary campaign even as she has lost numerous state contests to Trump. And there has been upheaval at the RNC, whose former chair Ronna McDaniel was forced out as Trump loyalists took the reins. 

“You will not see this happening on the other side,” Harrison said. “You will not see an event with Donald Trump and George W. Bush; it’s just not happening.”

Asked about recent polls showing Biden trailing Trump, Harrison argued that the fundraising clip is evidence that there's more Democratic energy for Biden than the polling numbers suggest. He said the not-yet-public February fundraising numbers will again show Democrats continue to raise money at a robust pace. 

He would not disclose the amount raised but said, “If Ronna were doing as well as we were doing, she would not have been” forced out.

Trump's team took issue with the Democrats' remarks and noted that Biden has faced splintering on the left with voters who backed "uncommitted" on the ballot in Michigan. The uncommitted represented a protest vote for Biden's handling of the Israel-Gaza war.

"It’s no surprise the three Democrat stooges who have brought untold destruction to America are united by that misery," Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said. "President Trump and Republicans are firmly united in the fight to beat Crooked Joe Biden."