Bill Clinton Makes Rare Fundraising Pitch for Hillary

At the center of a sea of hundreds of tables Sunday evening, former President Bill Clinton and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., stood side-by-side on a tiny stage while he told a crowd of more than a thousand why they should continue to support his wife's bid for the White House.

The packed ballroom at a Sheraton in midtown Manhattan was the first big fundraiser for Hillary Clinton's campaign to be hosted by her best known supporter. It was one of the few times the two have been seen in the same place in public since she announced she would run for president.

"We elect a president if the person running would be the best president," Bill Clinton told the crowd. "You will never find anybody that will do it better than her."

Clinton spoke about his wife's work with children over the years and her popularity overseas as a strong proponent of women's rights.

"I still find myself in small places in Africa, Asia, Latin America," he said, "and a woman will come up and say 'I'll never forget … when she said women's rights were human rights."

The former president kept his remarks short -- no doubt to avoid overshadowing the woman actually running for election.

Hillary Clinton spoke for about 20 minutes, on topics ranging from education to health care to Iraq and the need for better leadership in the country.

"It has been a difficult time for America because we haven't had leadership that has asked us to think to reach higher, to be more than we can be individually and we've been without the kind of guidance that leadership should provide to set goals for our country. We used to set goals in America," Clinton told the crowd.

She said that following the Sept. 11 attacks "people were looking for some direction. What were we going to do together? How were we going to respond?…And what were we asked to do?" She paused and then said, "Go shopping."

"I think America is ready to be asked to do something besides go shopping," were her final words at the event.

It was the biggest single night of fundraising for Clinton's campaign. Organizers estimate they raised more than $1 million at the two-hour event. Tickets went for a minimum of $1,000 per person. Some paid up to $4,600 for a ticket, the legal limit for contributions to any candidate for both the primary season and the general election.

Clinton is in the midst of a fierce fundraising blitz, which will include another similar large fundraiser at a Washington, D.C. hotel on Tuesday night and a Hollywood gala on Saturday, sure to draw celebrities. At the end of this month she and all of the candidates will report to the Federal Elections Commission how much money they've raised in the first quarter of 2007.

A source close to Clinton tells ABC News the Clinton campaign may report a fundraising total around $25 million for the first quarter of 2007. Such figures should be taken with a grain of salt though, since campaigns routinely try to "spin" reporters ahead of FEC deadlines in order to set expectations and keep pressure on other candidates' camps.

On Friday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the Don Imus radio program that he thought a successful candidate would need to raise around $75 million total. If Clinton were indeed to report raising $25 million in just the first three months of 2007, it would be seen as quite significant.

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