Chicago Sun-Times
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Obama, Michelle: Headlining FIVE fund-raisers on Monday

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WASHINGTON--President Obama and First Lady Michelle are both headlining events to benefit his 2012 re-election bid on Monday. Obama has three events in Miami on Monday while Mrs. Obama has two events is in the Los Angeles area.

Pool report from Mrs. Obama Pasadena funder:

Luncheon fund-raiser in Pasadena. No news.

About 500 people gathered on the ample lawn behind the Pasadena home of Ann and Robert Hamilton for a lunch-time fundraiser. Outside of the two-story Mediterranean-style home, a fountain spat water from a swimming pool and several women lounged nearby, strumming harps.

Guests paid $1,000 per ticket to attend the event. They sat at tables draped in white linen and dined on tamales, corn salad and fruit tarts. The majority of the guest were African-American women -- the fundraiser was organized by Southern California Women For Obama.

The First Lady arrived at approximately 12:40 PST and spoke for about 25 minutes. Lena Kennedy, the co-chair of the event, introduced her as "the not-so-secret weapon of the President of the United States."

Obama, in a sleeveless blue dress, stood at a podium beneath a tree bursting with lavender flowers.

She began by recounting her husband's journey to the White House, beginning with the moment he told her he wanted to run for President.

"I wasn't exactly thrilled at the idea," she said. "I still had some cynicism about politics, that was my hesitation."

But she said she was transformed on the campaign trail after hearing the stories of everyday Americas. She recalled a campaign stop in Iowa before the Democratic primary there, where she grew so comfortable with the people she was chatting with, she kicked off her heels.

"I was just standing barefoot in the grass, just talking to people," Obama said.

She said the moment made her realize that campaigning is "about meeting people one-on-one and learning about what was going on in their lives."

And it led to a revelation about Americans: "Whether you grew up on the South Side of Chicago or Iowa, our stories are shared."

Obama then listed some of the things her husband has done in office during his first two years. "We've gone from an economy that was on the brink of collapse to an economy that is starting to grow again," she said.

She also mentioned healthcare reform, the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. She praised "justice" in the killing of Osama bin Laden, and the withdrawal of troops from overseas.

"We are responsibly ending the war in Iraq and have brought home 100,000 servicemen and women," she said.

The First Lady talked about the toll that his work had taken on her husband.

"I see the sadness and worry that's creasing his face," she said.

She described his work ethic as tireless.

"He reads every word, every memo, so he is better prepared than the people briefing him," she said. "This man doesn't take a day off."

Obama said the next few years of campaigning would be difficult at times for the Obamas and their supporters. "It is not going to be easy, and it is going to be long," she said. "Now more than ever we need you help to finish what we started."

She finished at about 1:15 p.m. and left to take photographs with guest who had paid extra for the privilege. This evening, she will speak at another fundraiser, in Westwood.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 13, 2011 4:32 PM.

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