Getting a first-hand look at the man in the middle of the impeachment debate, South Bay residents said former Vice President Joe Biden struck a positive and optimistic tone in remarks to about 150 people at a Manhattan Beach home Wednesday—ignoring calls to comment on President Donald Trump’s impeachment and the subject of Ukraine.

Manhattan Beach residents Harrison and Chrissie Clay who attended the hour-long fundraiser Wednesday, Sept. 25, said the presidential candidate focused on big themes rather than address the recent fervor in Washington.

“He has a very optimistic view of things we can accomplish with a united country and a long term view,” Harrison Clay said following the event.

They both said Biden was their pick so far because of his experience and temperament.

“I think he’s the right candidate,” Chrissie Clay said.

Biden arrived to the home of Mona and Sanjay Khurana in the 800 block of 10th Street in Manhattan Beach shortly after 1 p.m. He stayed for about an hour, delivering remarks at one point in the backyard where guests surrounded a swimming pool. Tickets to the fundraiser were $2800 as a sponsor which included a photo with Biden or $1,000 as supporter. An optional contribution where a donor could fill in any amount was also listed on the entry form, but it was unclear what the minimum donation was required for admission.

Biden chose not to address reporters on his way into the event and said little on the way out before he got into a black SUV in the driveway and was driven away.

“The weather is good. We’ll see you guys later. Those transcripts are very revealing,” Biden said, referring to the recently released transcript of a July 25 phone call Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Biden was also expected to appear Wednesday at a Bel Air fundraiser after taping an appearance for “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”

Mev Blount, from Studio City, said she was not surprised that Biden chose to ignore accusations by President Trump that the former vice president urged Ukraine to fire its lead prosecutor because he was investigating a company with which his son was involved.

Biden has formerly denied those allegations, but allegations that Trump’s attempted to get Ukraine to resurrect the claim in the conversation with Zelensky is now the subject of an impeachment inquiry announced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday.

For Manhattan Beach neighbor Ryan Goss, the midday appearance of a presidential candidate brought some excitement to an otherwise quiet neighborhood. Guests arriving to the modern home with a neatly manicured front yard were dressed well with most of the men in suits and the women in gowns.

“I walked outside to get something out of my car and saw all the news vans,” Goss said. “It’s pretty exciting.”

Julie Rosenthal, who lives next door, said she didn’t know what was going on until she saw men dressed in suits and ties mingling out front and a valet service set up.

“They wouldn’t say what was happening, but I thought something was weird,” Rosenthal said Wednesday as she unloaded things out of her car parked in the garage.

Contact Lisa Jacobs or follow her on Twitter @lisaannjacobs.

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