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Clinton to Raise Funds on Tour

Former President Bill Clinton will engage in one of his favorite pastimes — raising political money — during the upcoming tour to promote his book “My Life.”

Clinton will boost the campaign coffers of three Democratic Party committees: the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Each committee has finalized plans for large fundraising events during Clinton’s book-flacking tour.

On July 22 in Miami, big donors to the DSCC will get a chance to play in a golf outing with Clinton, followed by a fundraising dinner headlined by the former president.

Financial goals for each of the events have yet to be finalized, but top party officials are hoping that these first few events are only part of a wider effort by Clinton to aid the party in the run-up to the Nov. 2 elections.

“We’re hopeful that he’ll be able to help us out between now and November in four or five places,” said Sen. Jon Corzine (N.J.), chairman of the DSCC.

“We all want him,” said Rep. Robert Matsui (Calif.), chairman of the DCCC. Matsui estimated that events with Clinton could bring in at least $1 million a night for his committee. “We’d take him every day of the week if we could get him.”

The commingling of the “My Life” book tour with big fundraising events recalls a similar effort by the former president’s wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.). Last summer, Sen. Clinton mixed a promotional tour for her own recounting of White House life, “Living History,” with Democratic fundraising efforts worth millions of dollars.

Many party strategists have been worrying for months about whether Bill Clinton’s book tour would overshadow the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. John Kerry (Mass.). Those same strategists, however, voiced no hang-ups about bringing the Clintons out on the fundraising trail, where the couple remains a bigger draw than any other Democrat.

“Obviously, whenever it’s the former president, we try to capitalize on it,” said one Democrat who’s familiar with the planning for some of the fundraising events.

“They’re draws,” added Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), a former White House aide.

Matsui said the former president is conscious of how his presence can draw public attention, and that Clinton will go out of his way to stand back and let Kerry shine, particularly after he accepts the party’s nomination in Boston in late July.

“He will do whatever he can to make sure Kerry is the dominant figure in the party,” Matsui said.

The former president’s fundraising efforts are not expected to be as extensive as last year’s effort by Sen. Clinton, who also did a variety of events on behalf of individual candidates, such as Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.). But the number of events that Bill Clinton does for party committees and candidates could grow as the election draws closer.

Bill Clinton’s book tour is also hampered — at least for the moment — by logistical question marks. As of Tuesday, his publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, listed just three book-signing events on its Web site. As soon as other events are finalized, more fundraising events will likely be built into the former president’s schedule, party strategists say.

So far, the DNC has lined up two events that will dovetail with Bill Clinton’s book tour, one in Los Angeles and one in Chicago.

DCCC aides said they have one event confirmed, on June 29, to be held in California while Clinton is promoting “My Life.” Matsui said that he expects Clinton to do at least one additional event for the DCCC, and possibly several more.

“Much will depend on his schedule,” Matsui said.

While the former president’s globetrotting habits make it difficult to plan campaign events, he has headlined a few big events for specific candidates. Earlier this year he did an event for Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) marking Daschle’s 25th year in Congress. That event brought in more than $2 million for Daschle, who’s in a tight re-election contest against former Republican Rep. John Thune.

And Monday night, after he came to Washington for the unveiling of his official White House portrait, the former president attended a fundraiser for Kerry’s presidential campaign at the Washington nightclub H20.