Michelle Obama is playing a growing role in her husband’s re-election campaign, partly as a fundraiser, but especially as a cheerleader for her husband’s female supporters.
The first lady attended at least two Jan. 26 fundraisers in Florida, where she ticked off a list of the president’s progressive accomplishments, promised more government intervention and ended with urgent appeals for audiences to join the campaign, according to the White House transcripts of her remarks.
Roughly 250 people paid a minimum of $500 to attend a lunchtime fundraiser in Sarasota, according to the transcript.
MRS. OBAMA: “So let me ask you one final question: Are you in?
MRS. OBAMA: Wait. Are you in?
MRS. OBAMA: Because I am so in. (Laughter.) I am so very in.
Prior to the 2010 mid-term election blowout, the first lady played only a minor role in her husband’s campaign plans. But her role has increased markedly since then.
Mrs. Obama has attended 17 fundraisers organized by the Democratic National Committee since June 2011, including five in Florida, three in California, and others in Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Illinois and Louisiana.
On Jan. 11 she attended two campaign fundraisers in Virginia on the same day that the president hosted one in their home town of Chicago. (RELATED: Full coverage of Michelle Obama)
Next week she is slated for a California trip, where she will attend two fundraisers and appear on two television shows. One is Jay Leno’s “Tonight Show,” and the other is “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” whose host is a vocal supporter of the president.
The first lady has also appeared at more events that showcase her non-political role in Washington. Since November, for example, she has headlined a “Toys for Tots” drive, a job fair, several events for soldiers and their families, a trouble-free appearance on the iCarly kids’ TV show and a quick appearance at a NASCAR rally.
Mrs. Obama is well-regarded by most Americans but engenders animosity in some, owing to the anonymous but corroborated tales about her clashes with White House officials including former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and former press secretary Robert Gibbs.
For example, in a Marist poll of 1,042 registered voters in October, 63 percent had a positive impression of her while just 21 percent had an unfavorable view. Her support among Democratic women, especially African-American women, is likely far higher.
Thursday’s trip included two fundraisers at expensive mansions in Palm Beach and Sarasota, plus a public event at a Tampa supermarket that featured a Hispanic food company and an audience that included numerous Hispanic and African-American children.
The trip put the first lady, and her politically correct healthy-food campaign, on Florida TV alongside the increasingly aggressive and hard-nosed GOP primary candidates.