Celebrities bring in $7.5 million for Kerry-Edwards ticket

Friday, July 9th 2004, 8:18 am
By: News On 6

The Democratic presidential ticket of John Kerry and John Edwards _ or ``kid'' as Whoopi Goldberg called the newest addition to the team _ just got about $7.5 million richer, thanks to a little help from celebrities.

At a star-studded fund raiser, the comedian greeted Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry, and then peered into the crowd looking for Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards. ``And where's the kid? Where's young Mr. Edwards? And, where's my girl, where's my girl? Stand up miss girl.''

Teasing Kerry, Goldberg said: ``Not that you're not youthful. You're very youthful, John. But he's youthful. He looks like he's 18!''

The running mates, on their first campaign swing together since Kerry picked Edwards as his vice presidential hopeful on Tuesday, attended the Democratic bash at Radio City Music Hall in midtown Manhattan.

Taking the stage at the end of the evening, Edwards said: ``Whoopi Goldberg said earlier tonight that she was afraid she wasn't going to get a phone call to be here.'' Then, he added the punch line: ``I can relate to that.''

Kerry joined in: ``John Edwards thinks he was worried he wasn't going to get a phone call. I was worried I wasn't going to get anybody at home!''

Ticket prices for the evening started at $250 for the concert alone to $25,000 for the concert and a reception. The show was sold out with 5,500, though not every donor attended.

The money raised from Thursday's concert will be divided between Kerry's campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Last month, a similar concert in Los Angeles raised $5 million.

Musician Jon Bon Jovi opened Thursday's event, saying: ``The beginning of the future starts right here tonight.'' Then he launched into the Beatles 1969 optimistic melody ``Here Comes The Sun.''

Actress Meryl Streep welcomed the new team with ``President Kerry. Vice President Edwards ... Oops! I got ahead of myself.''

And, singer Wyclef Jean told the crowd jokingly that he wanted to play his new single. ``If I was president,'' he sang, ``I'd be elected on Friday, hire Edwards on Saturday, have a big party on Sunday, start work on Monday. Kerry is the president, yah, yah.''

The celebrities didn't hold back, bashing President Bush at every opportunity.

``This guy's as bright as an egg timer,'' actor Chevy Chase said, ridiculing the president for his tendency to sometimes flub the English language. Referring to presidential hobbies, Chase rattled off a list. ``Clinton plays the sax, John plays the guitar, and the president's a liar,'' he said matter-of-factly, drawing laughs and cheers.

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt responded, ``It is a great example of John Kerry's priorities that on the day he said he did not have time to receive his intelligence briefing on threats to America, he found time to attend a Hollywood fund-raiser, filled with enough hate and vitriol to make Michael Moore blush.''

In an interview on CNN's ``Larry King Live'' aired Thursday night, Kerry said he had been offered a briefing from the Bush administration about new terror warnings but ``I just haven't had time.'' Kerry, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told King he would be briefed later this week.

David Wade, a Kerry spokesman, said after the concert that Kerry and Edwards speak for themselves. ``Performers have a right to speak their minds even when we don't agree with everything they say. That's the freedom John Kerry put his life on the line to defend,'' Wade said.