Biden reelection campaign offering joint meeting with Obama as ex-president enters 2024 fray early

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is raising money for his reelection campaign by offering donors the chance to meet himself and Barack Obama, meaning the former president will be entering the 2024 political fray earlier than he did during last year’s midterms or the last presidential election.

An email to supporters urged them to donate for a chance to “meet President Biden and President Obama” and featured a hypothetical text message chain where Biden writes “Hey pal, what do you say we band together to thank some grassroots supporters in person” and Obama replies “See you there” together with a smiling emoji wearing sunglasses.

Biden also posted on the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, “You and a guest could win a trip to meet @BarackObama and me” over a photo of the two posing for a selfie.

Obama has frequently campaigned for his former vice president and Democratic leaders around the country, though usually not this early in the campaign cycle, given that the 2024 election is still about 15 months away.

The former president campaigned for Democrats in key swing states including Nevada and Wisconsin in the days before last November’s election, when Democrats defied historical precedent and did far better than expected, picking up a seat in the Senate and only narrowly losing control of the House to Republicans. He also did fundraising for the Democratic National Committee in the year leading up the midterms, similar to how he is now raising money for Biden.

And Obama campaigned for Biden amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, releasing a joint video with his former No. 2 that summer. It featured a socially distanced meeting between the pair that was their first since the pandemic began, and showed them in discussions defending the Obama administration’s record while criticizing then-President Donald Trump as unworthy of the White House.

Later that fall, Obama held drive-in events for Biden in Florida and reunited with his former vice president for an outdoor rally in Philadelphia the weekend before Election Day. But those efforts only came after Obama refrained from taking sides during the Democrats’ competitive 2020 presidential primary, which Biden rallied to win after opening losses in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

Obama senior adviser Eric Schultz said last week that, “Just as he always has, President Obama looks forward to supporting Democrats up and down the ballot next fall, and no race has bigger stakes than President Biden’s reelection.”

“Our strategy will be based on driving impact. We place a huge emphasis on finding creative ways to reach new audiences, especially tools that can be directly tied to voter mobilization or volunteer activations,” Schultz said in a statement then. “We are deliberate in picking our moments because our objective is to move the needle.”

The Biden reelection campaign says its top surrogates, including Obama, are broadly focused on the campaign’s current top priorities, which include fundraising, and that offering a meeting with Biden and Obama to entice donors doesn’t mean the former president is likely to be out campaigning for Biden anytime soon.

Since announcing his reelection bid in April, meanwhile, Biden himself has focused more on governing than campaigning. So far, the president has attended just one 2024 rally, a June event in Philadelphia sponsored by many of the nation’s top labor organizations.

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