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Friday, February 24, 2012

After 16 vacations, Michelle O Raps the Rich -- at Swanky Fundraiser

Michelle Obama's pitch: Share the wealth

Paul Bedard

First lady Michelle Obama has joined her husband's bandwagon to hit the rich and spread the wealth, questioning how well-off families can feel good if others are struggling.

To about 300 supporters wealthy enough to pay $300-$10,000 to attend the mid-day event, the first lady said, "If a family in this country is struggling, we cannot be satisfied with our own families' good fortune."

She also rapped the rich, as has her husband. "Who do we want to be?" Obama asked. "Will we be a country where success is limited to the few at the top? This country is strongest when we are all better off."

Fundraising in Cincinnati, Ohio as her husband raised cash in Florida, she also said that the change President Obama offered in 2008 "does not come easy." And she added, "change is slow, but we will get there," according to a pool report of the event.

Below is the full report:

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered a vigorous defense of her husband’s administration to about 300 supporters at a fundraising at a downtown Cincinnati hotel Thursday afternoon, saying President Obama’s work “is not done.”

“If any family in this country is struggling, we can not be satisfied with our own families’ good fortune," said the First Lady, who spoke before an audience at the Westin Hotel who had paid anywhere from $250 to $10,000 for the mid-day event.

Mrs. Obama spoke for nearly half an hour to the people in the ballroom. Before that, she appeared at a private reception with big donors where attendees had an opportunity to have their picture taken with the First Lady.

Mr. Obama, dressed in a sleeveless black dress, was introduced by Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who called her “a woman of poise, a woman of elegance, a woman of grace, and, I would say, a woman of intelligence.”

Her speech was largely devoted to reciting the accomplishments of the Obama administration and telling the crowd that her husband – raised by a single parent, with the help of his grandmother – understands the problems of struggling families “because he has lived them.”

“Who do we want to be?,’’ Mrs. Obama asked. “Will we be a country where success is limited to a few at the top? This country is strongest when we are all better off.”

Her husband came to office three years ago, she said, to bring about change; and said change “does not come easy.”

“Change is slow, but we will get there,’’ Mrs. Obama said. “We are fighting for our sons and our daughters, our grandchildren, and what kind of future they will have.”

She praised the passage of health care reform legislation that she said has already “saved millions of seniors in this country an average of $600 a year for prescription drugs.”

“Now, there are some folks talking about repealing that reform,’’ Mrs. Obama said. “Are we going to let that happen? Are we going to allow children to be denied health care coverage who have cancer or other serious diseases? We can’t do that.”

She also praised President Obama for getting rid of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy toward gays in the military.

“Never again will our young people have to lie about who they are,’’ Mrs. Obama said.

She exhorted the supporters in the crowd to go to work for the re-election campaign.

“Will we let everything we worked for just slip away?,’’ she asked.

It was Mrs. Obama’s first visit to Cincinnati since Sept. 2008, when her husband was running for president. Then, she spoke at a National Baptist Convention at the Duke Energy Center.

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