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Politics / campaign 2012

Obama, Bill Clinton to Headline Fundraiser

Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at the Clinton Global Initiative in September.

President Obama and former President Clinton will appear together for their first joint fundraiser for the Obama-Biden ticket on April 29 at the McLean, Va., home of Clinton confidant and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, National Journal has learned.

Sources close to Obama and Clinton confirmed the date and location. McAuliffe ran Hillary Rodham Clinton's unsuccessful 2008 campaign against then-Sen. Barack Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination.

McAuliffe is considered an important conduit to the vast Clinton fundraising machine and was invited by the White House to attend the March 15  state dinner for British Prime Minister David Cameron, a signal Obama wants to build bridges to one of the Clinton family's closest and most trusted friends.

 

The Obama campaign approached former President Clinton months ago to begin negotiations for at least three joint fundraisers, and Clinton has committed to three. The second will be in New York. The date has not been determined. The third will be on the West Coast, probably Los Angeles, according to sources.

People in the Clinton fundraising network have been supportive of Obama's reelection bid. The joint fundraisers, according to the campaign, are not just about tapping more deeply into the Clinton network, but also about generating party-wide excitement for Obama's reelection.

Though Obama and the former president clashed indirectly in the hard-fought 2008 campaign over issues of race and Obama's preparation for high office, the two have mended fences. More importantly, Obama has come to appreciate Clinton's unique dual role as party elder statesman and motivational force.

In a campaign Obama's team anticipates will be close and where every dollar counts, Clinton's clout and the centrality of McAuliffe are signs of necessity and respect for the old guard of Democratic politics, which Obama the candidate indirectly disparaged in 2008.

To win, Obama's team believes it needs the full Clinton team on its side. It already has Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of State. Weeks ago, it locked up the former president. Now it has McAuliffe, possibly the most readily identifiable and unapologetic Clinton backer.

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