First Lady Michelle Obama was in western Massachusetts Friday to raise money for her husband’s re-election campaign. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports
The First Lady was the featured speaker at a luncheon with more than 100 people held at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. Tickets started at $1,000, with a top donation set at $2500. Local organizer, John Pucci, a Springfield attorney, said the sold out even exceed ed the goal which was to raise $250 thousand.
From Springfield, the First Lady was to travel to Pittsfield for a fundraising reception at the Colonial Theatre, where James Taylor was to perform. In the evening Mrs Obama is to attend a dinner at the Richmond home of Governor Deval Patrick and his wife Diane. Tickets for that event began at $20,000.
An Obama campaign official said proceeds from all three events will benefit the Obama Victory Fund, the Democratic National Committee, and several state Democratic parties.
Congressman Richard Neal said it is critical to be raising money even with the election just three months away.
No audio or video coverage of the fundraiser was allowed. A transcript of Mrs Obama’s remarks was to be made available later. A crowd of about two dozen people gathered outside the Hall of Fame to watch as a motorcade brought Mrs Obama through the parking lot and into an underground garage, where she entered the building.
Even thought the First Lady had no other events in Springfield, Mayor Domenic Sarno said it was still an honor to have her visit.
Not everyone at the Springfield fundraiser was a well healed donor, or politically connected. 20 year old Sheldon Gaynor, a social justice and anti poverty activist said he was invited to attend by someone who purchased a ticket for him.
The Western Massachusetts Fundraising blitz was the conclusion of a two day campaing swing through New England by the First Lady. It included two public rallies, Thursday, in New Hampshire. Political Analyst Anthony Cignoli says the fact the First Lady is only fundraising today in Massachusetts underscores how the two states are expected to vote in November.
During the New England campaign swing, Mrs. Obama stressed the new slogan, she unveiled this week,...It Takes One..An appeal to supporters to bring one more person on board...a relative, friend, or neighbor. It underscores the believe that this November's election will be closer than four years ago, and will come down to just a few votes.
The FIrst Lady stressed her husband's accomplishments in his first term as president, healthcare reform, tax cuts for the middle class and small businesses, the revival of the American automobile industry, a doubling of Pell Grants for college students, and the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The First Lady, whom pols show is very popular and admired ,also emphasized her husband's working class values. She did not mention Mitt Romney by name, but said..in teh end it all boils down to what you stand for..and we all know what my husband stands for.