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Joe Biden is no stranger to high-profile Hollywood outings. In fact, the former vice president has visited Los Angeles many times and even took the stage at the 2016 Oscars to introduce Lady Gaga’s performance of “Til it Happens to You.” His appearance Wednesday night at a Beverly Hills fundraiser — organized by Gonring, Spahn and Associates along with Jeffrey Katzenberg and held at the offices of WndrCo — may not have answered the burning question of whether he will run for president in 2020, but still proved to be engaging, sources say.
Approximately 25 people attended the $5,000-per-plate fundraiser, which raised a little more than $100,000, funds that will be funneled toward Biden’s PAC American Possibilities, which supports Democratic candidates and causes. Notable names in attendance were Paramount’s Jim Gianopulos, Sony Pictures’ Tom Rothman, producer Byron Allen, ICM Partners’ Chris Silbermann, Gonring Spahn’s Andy Spahn, Katzenberg, venture capitalist Chris Sacca, entrepreneur Jon Vein and Meg Whitman.
According to one attendee, Biden was in the building for 90 minutes and was introduced by Katzenberg. The former vice president then gave a short address where he touched on the politics of the day, but avoided the question of whether he plans to run for president in two years. Biden then participated in a Q&A session that lasted for about 45 minutes.
A source said the event felt more like an intimate gathering rather than a glitzy fundraiser, adding that it felt like “heartfelt” conversation among old friends. “Joe was super engaging. He was strong and thoughtful. It was a dynamic conversation.”
An event of this stature signals to observers that Biden is taking a possible 2020 presidential candidacy very seriously, though he didn’t say much on the subject. The 75-year-old, who served under President Barack Obama, could enter the presidential race as one of the frontrunners, though he has maintained that any decision about whether he would seek a third presidential bid would come only after the upcoming November midterm elections, now just weeks away.
Biden isn’t the only notable Democratic candidate on the shortlist for 2020 who is testing waters among the Hollywood donor class. Senator Cory Booker will reportedly be holding a similar fundraiser later this month at the home of producer Simon Kinberg. Tickets to the Booker event start at $150 with chair-level donations rising to $5,000.
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