Jill Biden hits suburban Chicago for fundraiser: ‘We have the momentum’

Jill Biden hits suburban Chicago for fundraiser: ‘We have the momentum’

Former Second Lady Jill Biden speaks during a press conference at the Union League Club after her husband, former Vice President Joe Biden, received presidential endorsement from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and other members of the Illinois congressional delegation, March 6, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

The wife of the Democratic presidential frontrunner said it’s been a “whirlwind” since the South Carolina vote.

Jill Biden was in Glencoe Friday morning to headline a fundraiser. I was the pool reporter for the event. Here is my pool report:

Event: A fundraiser at the home of Wendy and Frank Serrino in Glencoe, Illinois, an upscale suburb north of Chicago. Wendy is the president and board chair of the North Shore Exchange, a chain of luxury resale shops turning their profits over to charities. Frank is the president of Principi Capitol, an angel investing firm.

Jill Biden spoke in the living room of their home. Almost all the attendees were female. The Illinois primary is March 17.

According to invite: Contributions ranged from $500 to $2,800.

Amount raised: About $100,000 according to Dania Leemputte, who announced it before Jill Biden started speaking. She is one of five women who is on the Invest to Elect Steering Committee, along with Wendy Serrino, Carol Dawley, Karen Parker and Alicia Resnicoff. These women helped put the event together.

The event was put together in about five days. The event is taking place as Biden is surging after Super Tuesday and South Carolina and as the 2020 Democratic primary is now a Bernie Sanders/Joe Biden contest.

The Biden campaign Midwest fundraiser, Jeremy Hallahan, was present. Also present: Sheila Nix, former chief of staff to Jill Biden when she was the second lady during the Obama administration. Nix is the Biden Illinois campaign chair.

Food: This was a breakfast. Menu included frittatas; assortment of bagels, muffins, cream cheese, coffee and orange juice.

Introducer: Tommy Serrino, a poised and polished speaker, a senior at New Trier High School. “Our guest is going to be the next first lady of the United States,” he said. Jill Biden, a teacher, gave Tommy an “A plus” for his speech.

Biden started speaking at 9:36 Chicago time, placing her notes on a music stand with a Biden placard.

HIGHLIGHTS… See comments below about Sanders and the youth vote and about who Biden, if he is the nominee, should tap for vice president.

*Jill Biden said it’s been a “whirlwind” since the South Carolina vote.

*When she got a few days off she went home and saw her grandchildren, who call her “Nana.”

*She recounted how she met and started dating and married Joe and growing up outside of Philadelphia. She was impressed that after their first date, when he took her home and she was wondering, “is he going to make his move,” he “offered me a handshake. And I was so impressed by that. You have to remember the times.” She noted they have been married 42 years.

*On Joe’s leadership: “Anyone can tell you what they want to do, but Joe can tell you what he has already done.” She referenced Biden and his work on the Violence Against Women Act, fighting the NRA and his efforts rounding up votes for the Obama Affordable Care Act.

“He’s won these battles before and he can do it again. And he knows how to take us into the future and not drag us into the past. And honestly, I cannot wait to get to that future.”

“Four more years of a Donald Trump presidency will fundamentally change the character of our nation. We have to beat him….We also need a Democrat who can lead our party to victory, up and down the ticket, so we have to worry about those other races as well.”

*Right now we have the momentum, but this race is not over.” Jill Biden did not make a specific reference to the March 10 and March 17 primary contests.

After that, Jill Biden took questions, where for the first and only time she mentioned Sanders by name.

*Asked how the Biden campaign will get youth votes, Jill Biden said Joe Biden was talking to his campaign about “engaging the youth vote and coming up with some youth advocacy. Because you know Bernie is claiming that he has the youth vote, but guess what, they did not get out and vote for him. So, but, that does not mean that they don’t have great ideas, you know, and Joe has to be a big part of all it, they are voters too. So, we are going to address them, that’s going to be the next thing with our campaign.”

She mentioned youth related issues: affordable housing, college debt, climate change. “These are all things that Joe has responsible plans to address,” she said, emphasizing the word responsible.Joint

Near the end, Julie Dann Schneider, the wife of Rep. Brad Schneider, D-Ill., briefly spoke. Schneider endorsed Biden in January. Glencoe is in his tenth congressional district. Julie Schneider said that Biden is needed at the top of the ticket because he is the only one who can help “hold” the House.

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