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Biden says he's 'not the essential man' during 2024 campaign fundraiser with Wall Street execs

President Biden held a pair of fundraisers in Manhattan with Wall Street executives on Thursday ahead of a reporting deadline to the Federal Election Commission.

President Biden concluded an end-of-quarter campaign blitz Thursday with a pair of fundraisers in Manhattan, where he told Wall Street power brokers that he was "not the essential man" going into his bid for reelection.

"The reason I’m standing here is in large part because of you all," Biden told the small crowd of executives as they lounged in a high rise overlooking Central Park. "I’m not the essential man, but I represent the essential country."

The meetings were the last in a push to secure strong financial footing ahead of what is expected to be a wildly expensive 2024 campaign.

Biden already has some primary challengers, including Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson. On the other side of the ballot, the Republican primary field boasts more than 12 candidates and continues to grow.


The events were Biden’s ninth and 10th fundraising receptions over the past two weeks.

The fundraising surge has been assisted by Vice President Kamala Harris, first lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff – all of whom have totaled dozens of events in that same span.

The Biden campaign has not disclosed how much money has been raised but will have to do so on the July 15 reporting date.

The push comes as polls show 80-year-old Biden remains unpopular, even among the Democratic base, which is not backing him as enthusiastically as it did in 2020.


The Biden campaign, however, remains confident party members will rally behind the president going into the consequential 2024 race.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, a Hollywood mogul, major Democratic donor and co-chair of Biden’s campaign, said Biden continues to receive "outstanding support."

"I’ve been doing this for a really long time for a number of presidents and presidential candidates," Katzenberg told The Associated Press. "I’ve never seen from top to bottom, the Democratic enterprise kick into gear this way, from President Obama, governors, senators, congressmen, just across the board – he’s gotten outstanding support."

Katzenberg said there is "no urgency right now" for Biden to put up sizable fundraising or spending figures because he lacks a credible primary threat and the election is 16 months away.

Despite this, Katzenberg told the AP there were "very optimistic signals" for Biden's re-electability and that he could exceed his 2020 fundraising levels.

Biden also has an opportunity to be more active on the campaign trail than in his last contest as the 2020 election was marred by the coronavirus pandemic and closures.

Hosted on Thursday by Mark Gallogly, a former hedge fund investor and climate activist, Biden talked about his climate agenda and about how he's brought both unions and environmentalists together to talk about climate change.

"Did you ever think that would happen?" the president asked.


His string of appearances, both public and private, put the president's rambling remarks and peppered references to issues such as tougher gun restrictions and abortion rights on display.

During a separate Chevy Chase fundraiser on Tuesday, Biden admitted he was "not big on abortion" and, at the same event, misspoke and said "Iraq" when referencing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

When recapping a lunch with former President Barack Obama earlier this week, Biden told supporters, "I had lunch with Barack the other day, and I was kidding, I said— he’s helping me out a lot, by the way— I said every time I hear ‘Hail to the Chief,’ I think it’s you. Not a joke. Sometimes the Secret Service looks at me like, ‘It’s you.’"

Katzenberg has defended Biden's blunders by saying they make him "authentic."

"When there’s something that is on his mind, he’ll say it – and you know, that’s what makes him authentic," the campaign co-chair stated.


Biden’s fundraising numbers will be shared when the campaign submits its filing to the Federal Election Commission in July, campaign spokesman Kevin Munoz said.

"We are encouraged by the strong response we are seeing from donors and our grassroots supporters, including a significant number of new donors since 2020," he said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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