TAMPA -- More than 200 people turned out to see Michelle Obama on Thursday afternoon at the Davis Islands waterfront home of developer Joel Cantor.
Tickets ranged from $1,000 for general admission, $5,000 for a photo with the first lady, and $35,800 to be on the host committee. Cantor is emerging as one of the Obama campaign’s top Tampa Bay fundraisers, along with lobbyist and veteran fundraising consultant Justin Day and Mark Sena, a communications and financial services executive Mark Sena, husband of former Tampa city council member Linda Saul-Sena.
Speaking just down the street from Derek Jeter’s mansion and five minutes from where the Republican presidential nominee will be anointed next August, Mrs. Obama ticked off her the president’s accomplishments -- the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay to men; health care reform; killing Osama bin Laden; raising education standards; ending “Don’t ask, don’t tell;” two “brilliant” Supreme Court appointments; “bringing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to a responsible end.
“Make no mistake about it, whether it’s health care or the economy, whether it’s education or foreign policy, the choice we make in this election will determine nothing less than who we are as a country -- but more importantly, who we want to be,” she said, as guests fanned themselves in the 82-degree heat. “Who do we want to be? Will we be a country that tells folks who have done everything right but are struggling to get by, “tough luck, you’re on your own? Is that who we are?”
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“No,” the audience responded.
She made a pitch for the American Jobs Act, calling it a “common sense”
“This is a bill that would give tax cuts to 6 million small business owners. We’re talking about the folks who run the restaurants and the stores and the startups that create two-thirds of all new jobs in this economy. ... We’re talking about a tax cut that could mean the difference from these businesses hiring new employees, or handing out pink slips -- between keeping their doors open, or closing shop for good. That is what’s at stake here,” she said.
She spoke for about 20 minutes.