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Politics

Hot Dish Politics: Michelle Obama's $90K night

Before leaving town after visiting Minnesota military families on Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama swung by a fundraiser at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to pick up some cash for her husband's re-election efforts.

Updated: March 19, 2012 - 5:24 AM

Before leaving town after visiting Minnesota military families on Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama swung by a fundraiser at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to pick up some cash for her husband's re-election efforts.

"Barack can't do this alone," Obama told a crowd of cheering supporters Friday evening. "We need you by our side. We have so much more work to do."

About 360 people attended the fundraiser, organized jointly by the Obama for America campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

The attendees, who paid anywhere from $250 to $1,000 a head, included Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak and U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar. DFL Gov. Mark Dayton greeted the first lady at the airport. The take was reported to be at least $90,000.

The first lady touted her husband's record on job growth, the war on terror, health care, women's issues and gay rights.

Republicans, however, took the opportunity of the first lady's visit to blast the president's record.

"Even the first lady's strong personal popularity isn't enough to overcome the president's failed record and unpopular agenda -- Obamacare, the failed stimulus, the bailouts, record deficits and debt, high unemployment and sky high gas prices," said Minnesota GOP Chairman Pat Shortridge. "As President Obama's policies continue to fail Minnesota families and small businesses, Minnesota will probably be seeing even more of Mrs. Obama and less of the president."

The first lady was introduced by Minnesota campaign volunteer Kelly Bertenshaw, who shared her experience of battling breast cancer without health insurance. She and her young son lost their home to the medical bills, and she said she plans to volunteer for the 2012 Obama campaign to ensure that no one else "has to choose between saving their life and saving their home."

The first lady urged the crowd to go out and round up more volunteers for the coming campaign.

"One of the greatest things about being first lady is I have had the privilege of traveling all across this great country -- and our country is great -- meeting folks from all different backgrounds and hearing what's going on in their lives," she said. "And every day, I hear about how people are struggling to keep it together, how they're paying their bills trying to keep their businesses afloat ... . Taking that extra shift, working that extra job."

Obama, decked out in pre-St. Patrick's Day green, told the crowd the middle class "is getting squeezed from all sides," and still struggling to recover from the recession.

But, she said, "even in the hardest moments, when it seems like all is lost, Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal. ... But Barack can't do this alone. He needs your help."

Obama shook hands on her way out of the room, then headed to the airport.

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