Less than 24 hours after Joe Biden declared his Presidential campaign very much alive with a trove of Super Tuesday comeback victories, the former Vice President is celebrating tonight with Hollywood A-listers.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Sony Pictures’ Tom Rothman, Bad Robot’s Brian Weinstein, CAA’s Craig Gering, Sony-Screen Gems’ Eric Paquette, Keegan-Michael Key and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti were some of the guests at a fundraiser at the Bel Air home of philanthropist and former Paramount boss Sherry Lansing, according to a source who was there. Co-hosts included John Emerson and Kimberly Emerson, Sim Farar and Debra Farar and Cynthia Telles and Joe Waz.
As Biden’s campaign sees a big boost in new bundlers and donors with momentum swinging his way as the more moderate alternative to Bernie Sanders, the event sold out and had to be moved outside at Lansing’s pad to accommodate all the 350 or so guests. Tickets started at $1,000 per person.
Biden made a quip about an incident that occurred on Tuesday night, when anti-dairy protesters barged on stage and disrupted his Super Tuesday victory speech before his wife Jill Biden blocked one of the demonstrators from getting close to her husband.
“I’m probably the only candidate running for president whose wife is my Secret Service,” Biden said, according to a pool report.
He added, “You don’t screw around with a Philly girl. I’ll tell you what. I thought I heard on the news on the way over that the committee in charge of Secret Service decided they have to start providing Secret Service for us. I think that’s because they’re afraid Jill’s going to hurt someone. I tell you what, man, I married way above my station.”
The event was originally scheduled for Feb. 20 but was moved when it became clear that Biden had to spend all of his time on the campaign trail in Nevada and then South Carolina.
Lansing said that the event originally was going to be for just 80 people in her living room.
“Then South Carolina happened,” Lansing said. “The calls just kept coming in, over and over. It was like a deluge. And obviously we didn’t want to turn anyone away.” To accommodate the larger crowd, the event was moved outside to the home’s lush backyard near a large pool and a pair of lion statues.
Other guests at the Biden event were former governor Gray Davis and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), another co-host with her husband Richard Blum, introduced Biden by speakerphone from Washington, where she had a Judiciary Committee meeting on Thursday. She recalled how Biden chaired the committee when she was first elected to the Senate and he asked her to be the first woman member.
“He knows how to get results,” she told the crowd. “People talk big back here but it takes somebody with some knowledge to get results.”
Additionally, Michael Bloomberg’s decision to drop out on Wednesday after a pathetic Super Tuesday showing means a number of his backers are gravitating to supporting Biden’s campaign. Among them is Jon Vein, who was co-chair of the Los Angeles leadership committee for Bloomberg and has previously hosted events for candidates including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He said that he was “thrilled we are with Joe and not making the same mistake Republicans made in 2016, when the primary vote was splintered and they delivered Donald Trump.”
Some of Pete Buttigieg’s L.A. team also is committing to work for Biden. That includes fundraising and public affairs consultant John Gile and Kevin MacLellan, the former NBCUniversal global and international chairman who hosted Buttigieg at his home last summer.
Meanwhile, Biden’s campaign has an LGBTQ event on the books that is expected to draw former supporters of Buttigieg. James Costos, the former U.S. ambassador to Spain for Barack Obama and a former HBO executive, and designer Michael Smith are hosting a March 19 fundraiser for Biden at their New York home, with tickets set at $2,800 per person. Co-hosts include Rufus Gifford, the former ambassador to Denmark who was finance director for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.
Taking it pretty easy today with just a short appearance this afternoon with Garcetti, who is thought to be a potential cabinet member, Biden and his team intend to spend the next few weeks trying to seal the Hollywood ATM deal with big bundlers who wrote big checks for Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Chief among those deep pocket supporters are Quibi mainman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who was the 44th POTUS’ biggest bundler. Spreading his resources around various Democrats in the race at one point or another, including Biden, Katzenberg is widely seen as a whale among Biden’s finance team if they can snare him. Not only would the former DreamWorks Animation CEO bring in major cash himself but is expected to open the door to other Tinseltown donors like Steven Spielberg and George Clooney.