Mrs. Obama urges Ohioans to support re-election

DAN SEWELL Associated Press Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday urged supporters to rally around her husband's re-election campaign or risk seeing his presidency's health care overhaul and other policy changes "slip away."

She raised money for President Barack Obama's Democratic campaign in a reception at a downtown Cincinnati hotel. Before heading to another fundraiser in Louisville, Ky., she toured some of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's exhibits about slavery and how runaway slaves reached freedom.

Mrs. Obama told the reception that change comes slowly but that the health care legislation has already benefited millions of people, saving many senior citizens hundreds of dollars a year on prescription drugs.

"Now there are some folks talking about repealing that reform," she 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."

Republican presidential campaigns are in high gear in Ohio, which has a March 6 primary. All four GOP candidates pledge to seek repeal of "Obamacare."

The first lady also hailed the end 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," she said.

She said people shouldn't be satisfied with their own good fortune as long as any family is struggling.

"Will we be a country where success is limited to a few at the top?" she asked. "This country is strongest when we are all better off."

Exhorting the crowd to work for Obama's re-election, she asked: "Will we let everything we worked for just slip away?"

Organizers said some 300 people were at the fundraiser. Tickets started at $250, ranging up to $10,000.

She was accompanied at the Freedom Center by Mayor Mark Mallory and Verna Williams, a longtime friend who's a University of Cincinnati law professor, among others.


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