Former President Bill Clinton has agreed to make joint appearances with President Barack Obama at a series of campaign fundraisers, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The 42nd and the 44th presidents will appear together at events in the coming months in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, according to one of the people. The New York fundraiser will be attended by donors in the financial services industry, said the person, who like the others spoke on the condition of anonymity because they hadn’t been authorized to talk about the events.
Ben Labolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, said yesterday nothing has been put on the schedule. Clinton spokesman Matt McKenna declined to comment yesterday.
While Obama raised $5 million on his last fundraising trip to New York, including $2 million from a March 1 event with members of the financial services industry, he is collecting less money from Wall Street this year compared with four years ago, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Wall Street was Obama’s biggest source of campaign cash in 2008. In this election, employees of the securities and investment industry and their families have given almost three times more money to Republican Mitt Romney, a former private equity executive, than Obama. Romney has collected $6.6 million compared with $2.3 million for Obama through Jan. 31, according to the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics.
The prospect of a meeting with Obama as well as the former president, whose favorability rating was 67 percent in a Pew Research Center poll last year, may entice more donors, especially those who retain some loyalty to Hillary Clinton, who lost to Obama in the 2008 Democratic nomination contest, one of the people said.
Democrats cheered the move and said it signaled a new stage in the campaign.
“Given the volume of Republican super-PAC spending this cycle and its impact on the course of GOP nominating process, President Clinton’s personal support is the most effective starter’s gun we have,” said Michael Meehan, a Democratic strategist.
The show of Democratic unity comes as Republicans are in the middle of a protracted primary fight.
“This is still another development that reinforces Obama’s status as the frontrunner heading into the general election,” said Greg Valliere, the chief political strategist at the Potomac Research Group in Washington. “The Democrats are amazingly united, with very little dissent, while the Republicans have ripped themselves apart.”
Romney, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and U.S. Representative Ron Paul are contending for the Republican nomination. Eleven states are holding contests tomorrow for the Republican race.