About 80 people tucked into a $20,000-a-plate dinner in McLean Sunday, shelling out not for the food — a mere afterthought — but for the dining companionship of both Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.
The current and former Democratic presidents headlined their first joint fundraiser, pulling in an undetermined sum for President Obama’s reelection effort.
“You guys get two presidents for one, which is a pretty good deal,” Obama told the crowd at a reception prior to the dinner.
The reception and dinner took place at the home of Terry McAuliffe, a businessman, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and likely gubernatorial candidate next year. Tickets for the reception, which drew about 500, started at $1,000 a head.
Proceeds for both events go to the Obama Victory Fund, a fundraising committee of Obama for America, the Democratic National Committee and several state Democratic parties. Organizers did not immediately provide fundraising totals from the evening.
A small group of reporters was briefly allowed into McAuliffe’s back yard, where a stage was set up beneath a white tent. Among those in the crowd were former Democratic governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) and state Sen. Barbara Favola (D-Arlington).
Clinton told the crowd that Obama has “got an opponent who basically wants to do what they did before — on steroids.”
Obama mocked Romney for calling Russia, rather than al-Qaeda, the United States’s biggest enemy.
“I didn’t know we were back in 1975,” he said.
Kaine stood directly behind reporters and was heard enthusiastically agreeing throughout Clinton’s and Obama’s remarks, according to a pool report made available to reporters not admitted to the event.
In 2008, Obama became the first Democratic presidential candidate to carry Virginia in 44 years. But the party has lost ground in the years since. Today, the GOP controls all of Richmond and constitutes a majority of Virginia’s congressional delegation.