Former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton joined President Joe Biden for a star-studded fundraiser on Thursday in New York City which raked in over $26 million for Biden’s re-election, his campaign said, calling it a historic show of unity and enthusiasm.

The three presidents’ armchair conversation, moderated by comedian Stephen Colbert, also saw at least six interruptions from pro-Palestine protesters, with most urging a cease-fire in Gaza and accusing his administration of aiding genocide, something that’s become a regular occurrence at Biden’s campaign events.

First Lady Jill Biden, kicking off the event, called it “the fundraiser to end all fundraisers.”

Of the roughly 45-minute discussion, the presidents spent 10 minutes on Gaza. Colbert asked the trio questions ranging from democracy, foreign policy and what keeps them up at night while making the case of why Biden is a better choice for president than former President Donald Trump.

“It’s not just the negative case against the presumptive nominee on the other side,” Obama said, without ever saying Trump’s name. “It’s the positive case for somebody who’s done an outstanding job as president. Sometimes we forget where we started and where we are now.”

PHOTO: President Biden Speaks At The Chavis Community Center In Raleigh, North Carolina

RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA – MARCH 26: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks at the Chavis community center on March 26, 2024 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Biden is making a big push in North Carolina this year, a state he believes to be winnable in the November presidential election. Biden lost North Carolina to Donald Trump by only 2 percentage points in 2020. (Photo by Eros Hoagland/Getty Images)

Eros Hoagland/Getty Images

Biden told the sold-out crowd of 5,000 that the nation is at “a real inflection point in history,” before launching to attack Trump early in the evening.

“This guy denies there’s global warming. This guy wants to get rid of not only Roe v. Wade, which he brags about having done, he wants to get rid of the ability of anyone anywhere in America to have the right to choose. All the things he’s doing are so old. A little old and out of shape,” Biden added to laughs.

About 15 minutes into the event, Colbert addressed the spattered interruptions, after some attendees rose to their seats with signs and yelling chants like, “Blood on your hands.”

“There are some protesters here who are no doubt related to the protests we saw across the street. Everyone in here saw the protests across the street before we came in,” Colbert said, explaining that he was going to bring up the subject.

“But as long as it’s being brought up,” he continued, turning to Biden, “What do you believe the United States’ role should be going forward to ensure the most peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Israel and for Gaza?”

Biden did not use the words “cease-fire” but voiced support for a two-state solution, as he often does, but before ultimately receiving a standing ovation.

“There has to be a train to a two-state solution. It doesn’t have to occur today. It has to be professional. And I think we can do that,” Biden said. “That’s why we’re seeing more avenues open into Israel, us getting into Gaza to bring food and medicine, and there’s much more we can do.”

When Obama was interrupted while speaking about Gaza, he quipped back, “No, listen – you can’t just talk and not listen,” and received a standing ovation, as well.

“I think people understandably, oftentimes, want to feel a certain purity in terms of how those decisions are made. But the president doesn’t have that luxury.”

“I believe that this is one of the most important reasons to re-elect President Biden,” Clinton added, emphasizing that all three presidents “believe in the legitimacy of the Palestinians to statehood.”

Clinton received a loud roar of applause when he argued Trump took credit for an economy built by Democrats.

“President Trump, let’s be honest, had a pretty good couple of years, because he stole them from Barack Obama,” he said – before Obama chimed in, “Look, the Obama-Biden economy for those first two years, but please continue, I’m gonna give him another minute.”

“I listened to him tell us how terrible the American economy was all through 2016 and then by January after the inauguration, it became wonderful, miraculously overnight,” Clinton added. “Well, what happened was actually job growth under President Trump was slower than it was under President Obama and Biden. But people didn’t feel it, it takes a while to feel it.”

“I believe in keeping score, not in a vindictive way, but in a positive way,” Clinton said. “[Biden’s] been good for America. And he deserves a lot of time and democracy around the world needs him.”

PHOTO: President Joe Biden is joined by former President Bill Clinton and former President Barack Obama, and actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes at a fundraiser in New York, on March 28, 2024.

President Joe Biden is joined by former President Bill Clinton and former President Barack Obama, and actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes at a fundraiser in New York, on March 28, 2024.

Biden for President

Colbert, host of “The Late Show,” sprinkled in jokes throughout his questions to the presidents.

When he asked for a “show of hands” if they have any plans to sell golden sneakers or $60 Bibles in an apparent tease of Trump, Biden answered, “No golden sneakers.”

He asked Biden to confirm that Air Force One was “made by Boeing right?”

“Do those doors stay on?” Colbert said, evoking laughter. “Before you get on, did you send down Pete Buttigieg with a socket wrench to tighten bolts?”

“One thing I can tell you about Air Force One, we’re not changing the color,” Biden replied. “Yeah, we’re not doing that,” added Obama.

Following Trump touting winning a golf tournament at his Mar-a-Lago Club over the weekend, Colbert asked Biden, “Can voters trust a presidential candidate who has not won a single Trump International Golden Globe trophy at home, at last sir, have you no chip shot?”

Biden answered back: “Look, I’d be happy to play — I told him this before when he came into the Oval before he got sworn in. I said I’ll give you three strokes if you carry your own bag,” and he claimed to have played 21 rounds of golf since he’s taken office.

Biden, again, repeated his joke about Trump’s “old ideas” when asked by Colbert about concerns with his own age.

“One thing age does bring is a little bit of wisdom,” Biden said. “And I know I don’t look much older than 40, I know that.”

“This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different breed of cat,” he added, turning the answer on Trump. “This is about 30 to 40% of the MAGA Republicans. The thing that disturbs me most, I don’t know what is it that my predecessor has on these guys. Why they’re not stepping up more like Liz Cheney and others.”

Clinton said at another point that Republicans are “good at branding and blaming” while Biden “is good at finding solutions people are actually glad to embrace.”

As the evening closed, Obama said Americans can feel frustrated, but, “The question then becomes, who is it that really sees you and cares about you? I’m pretty confident the other guy doesn’t. This guy does.”

There were also performances from Queen Latifah, Lizzo, Ben Platt, Lea Michele and Cynthia Erivo, along with a warm-up act from actress Mindy Kaling, who said her “simple” reason for supporting Biden was “because of my kids.”

“Not just because I want them to have reproductive rights and drinkable water, but also, true story: One time when my daughter was two years old, she saw Kamala Harris on TV, and she thought it was me. I have never felt so hot, or that my daughter was maybe a little bit racist,” Kaling said to laughs. “It’s fine.”

The Biden campaign hopes the sold-out event — which they say brought in more money than Trump raised in the entire month of February — will help energize the Democratic Party ahead of what’s expected to be a competitive general matchup against Trump.



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