below, pool report on fund-raiser in Virginia headlined by First Lady Michelle Obama ....
BY GRAHAM MOOMAW
First lady Michelle Obama urged Central Virginia Democrats to help re-elect President Barack Obama at a private fundraiser Wednesday evening just outside Charlottesville, Va.
The event was hosted at the $4.5 million estate of Dave Matthews Band drummer Carter Beauford and his wife, Karen, located off a rural stretch of Lonesome Mountain Road in Albemarle County.
Beauford was with the band at a concert in Seattle, and was not in attendance at the fundraiser, where campaign officials expected around 130 guests.
During a 25-minute speech that began a little after 5:30 p.m., the first lady highlighted her husband's achievements on health care, education, the economy and foreign policy.
"You have a president that has been working hard to rebuild our economy based on a vision that we all share: the belief, as my husband says, that hard work should pay off, that responsibility should be rewarded and that everyone should get a fair shot and do their fair share and play by the same rules. These are basic American values," Obama said as she spoke to attendees, who sat at tables set up under a tent on the Beaufords' lawn.
Obama said the fact that unemployment now stands at its lowest point in three years is good news, but there's still a long way to go.
"Over the last three years, your president has worked very hard to dig us out of this mess," she said. "...We've made some important progress."
Obama was flanked by the American flag and the state flag of Virginia as she read from a teleprompter in front of a blue backdrop.
The passage of the president's health-care bill last year "made history," Obama said as she warned against efforts to undo the legislation.
"Now there are some folks actually talking about repealing this reform," she said. "Today we must ask ourselves, are we going to stand by and let that happen. I mean, really? Are we going to let insurance companies refuse to cover things like cancer screening, prenatal care, that don't just save money, they save lives, or are we going to stand up for our lives and the lives of the people that we love?"
The first lady also highlighted the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Act to ensure fair pay for women, the implementation of a consumer watchdog agency, the repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, the killing of Osama bin Laden and the appointment of Supreme Court justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, as evidence of her husband's first-term accomplishments.
"Make no mistake about it... The choice we make will determine nothing less than who we are as a country, but more importantly, it will determine who we want to be," Obama said. "Who are we? Will we be a country where opportunity is limited to just a few at the top? Or will we be a place where if you work hard you can get ahead no matter who you are."
Obama was introduced by Karen Beauford, who said Republicans are going to "throw everything they have at us" in the fall.
"While the president has been fighting these fights, our amazing first lady has been right there by his side," Beauford said. "
The Charlottesville area is largely seen as a Democratic stronghold in what is likely to be a key swing state in this year's election.
In 2008, the Obama-Biden ticket won roughly 78 percent of the vote in Charlottesville and about 58 percent of the vote in Albemarle.
Tickets for the dinner and photo reception ranged from $1,500 to $35,800 per couple, according to an invitation obtained by The Daily Progress.
The money will go toward the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising effort that benefits both the Obama re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee, according to a campaign official.
The first lady ended her speech at 5:58 p.m., and she was back on the move back to Washington a little before 6:10 p.m.