Obama again stepping into role as Joe’s closer ahead of Trump v. Biden rematch

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Obama again stepping into role as Joe’s closer ahead of Trump v. Biden rematch

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Former President Obama is again stepping in to help lock up votes and dollars during the home stretch of President Biden’s quest for the White House, apparently having ditched the concerns that reportedly made Obama wary of Biden’s candidacy in 2020.

Biden’s rematch with former President Trump features a second encore from Obama, whose celebrity and status with Democratic donors has been a financial and public relations boon to Biden at a time when the president is facing increasing questions about his record, plans and cognitive abilities.

“I take great pride in what the Biden administration has accomplished,” Obama said during a recent event with Biden and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel at the Peacock Theater in Los Angeles. “And it’s a reminder that we don’t have to just vote against something in this election. We have somebody to worry about. And there’s a whole agenda that we should be concerned about.”

He continued, “But we can take pride in affirming the extraordinary work that Joe has done. And we want to make sure that we build on that and then pass it on to the next president rather than have a president who wants to reverse the progress that has been made.”

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TV host Jimmy Kimmel is shown with President Biden and former President Obama during a campaign fundraiser in Los Angeles on June 15, 2024. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama’s comments were part of a ritzy fundraising event at which the Biden campaign pulled in a whopping $30 million as Hollywood stars such as George Clooney and Julia Roberts took the stage in support of the 46th president. The dollar total shattered previous Democratic fundraising records.

Biden is gearing up for a difficult rematch against Trump this year, with polling showing Biden with a two-point advantage over Trump, which is well within the margin of error.

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Biden said in April last year that he’d “finish the job” and run for re-election, and the announcement was soon followed by a series of high-profile fundraising events with Hollywood stars, elites at the highest echelons of American society and industry, and notably Obama. 

Barack Obama with arms on Biden's shoulders, large US flag hanging in background

President Biden and former President Obama. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque TPX Images of the Day)

Obama’s appearance in Los Angeles this month was not the first time his attendance helped bring in millions for Biden. 

The 44th president, as well as former President Bill Clinton, joined Biden at Radio City Music Hall in New York in March for another star-studded fundraiser, this time hosted by actress Mindy Kaling. During the event, late-night host Stephen Colbert moderated a conversation with Biden, Obama and Clinton, while special guests such as Queen Latifah, Lizzo and Ben Platt also appeared.

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That event pulled in more than $26 million, according to the campaign at the time. 

Obama has also recorded campaign videos with Biden this election cycle and held conversations with Biden regarding the structure of the campaign heading into 2024, according to various media reports.

President Biden, center, on stages with former Presidents Obama (left) and Clinton (right)

Former Presidents Clinton and Obama are shown with President Biden. (Getty Images)

Obama’s 2024 fundraising efforts mirror his actions when he stepped in to help boost Biden in 2020, including an $11 million fundraiser that marked the duo’s first such event together since the Obama administration. Obama went on to hit the campaign trail in support of Biden in the leadup to Election Day, which included issuing a scathing assessment of Trump.

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“Trump cares about feeding his ego. Joe cares about keeping you and your family safe,” Obama said in Flint, Michigan, just days before the 2020 election.

Obama added, “He’s still worried about his inauguration crowd being smaller than mine. It really bugs him. He’s still talking about that. Does he have nothing better to worry about? Did no one come to his birthday party as a kid? Was he traumatized?”

President Trump on Jan. 20, 2017, with Michelle Obama

President-elect Trump greets outgoing first lady Michelle Obama on Jan. 20, 2017. (Reuters)

But long before joining Biden on the campaign trail – or even endorsing his former running mate – Obama cautioned Biden against seeking the White House, citing fears that the campaign could “damage his legacy,” according to a 2019 New York Times report.

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“You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t,” Obama reportedly told Biden.

“Win or lose, they needed to make sure Mr. Biden did not ‘embarrass himself’ or ‘damage his legacy’ during the campaign,” the New York Times reported, citing two people with knowledge of the conversation.

Barack Obama holding right hand up

Former President Obama (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Obama remained coy for a long while about who he would endorse, saying he would not back anyone during the primary. As Democratic contenders such as Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the primary race and cleared a path for Biden, however, Obama finally endorsed his former veep in August 2020.

Obama said in a video at the time that “Joe has all the qualities we need in a president right now,” noting that choosing him as his running mate in both the 2008 and 2012 elections was “one of the best decisions I ever made.”

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But even the process by which Obama landed on Biden as his vice presidential pick got off to a rocky start.

Obama helps Biden leave stage

President Obama takes President Biden by the wrist at a fundraising event. (Christopher Gardner via Storyful)

Biden made a series of gaffes before becoming Obama’s running mate, including in 2007 when Biden was about to declare his own run for the White House. On the eve of his announcement, Biden described Obama to a reporter as “the first mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.”

Despite Biden’s comment, he and Obama soon developed and strengthened their professional relationship, culminating in Biden being selected as Obama’s VP.

Obama could continue bolstering Biden’s campaign this election cycle as recent donation data shows Trump closing his campaign’s fundraising gap with Biden’s campaign. 

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Biden previously had a massive fundraising advantage over Trump in the 2024 race for the White House, but recent windfalls following Trump’s conviction in his New York criminal trial have essentially erased Biden’s lead, Fox News Digital reported this weekend. 

Trump and the Republican National Committee in May notched their second consecutive month outraising Biden and the DNC, all while not yet launching a general election ad buy. Biden’s campaign, conversely, has spent at least $65 million on ad purchases.

“The campaign appreciates President Obama’s help and support,” a Biden campaign spokesperson told Fox News Digital when reached for comment. 

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