Michelle Obama in Chicago for fundraisers, TV show

September 28, 2012 5:39:09 AM PDT
First lady Michelle Obama was in town Thursday for two fundraisers and an appearance on a syndicated TV show.

Illinois is a solid blue state, backing Barack Obama. But the first lady is here for the green. During a quick visit, she's raising money and, she hopes, good will for her husband's re-election effort.

ABC7 spotted Mrs. Obama's motorcade heading for her first stop, the taping of a nationally syndicated television show based in Chicago.

The first lady will do what she does best: humanize her husband. It's what the couple did together during a taping of The View earlier this week.

Next stop is Oprah's old studios on the Near West Side. Tickets for that fundraiser start at $250 a person, $3,500 if you want to bring your family and take a picture with the first lady.

The first lady's third and final official stop here in Chicago will be at a private home in the Lincoln Park neighborhood for a fundraiser hosted by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Leadership Council. Among the hosts is Laura Ricketts. She and her family own the Cubs. Her fundraiser for Mrs. Obama comes on the same day her father is the first of what will be $10 million of anti-Obama ads.

Meanwhile, the president and Republican challenger Mitt Romney were just 200 miles apart Thursday, both campaigning in the battleground state of Virginia.

The Republican candidate addressed voters in Springfield at an American Legion post. Romney warned them about international threats and also vowed to improve the economy. Romney also told his audience he will create jobs.

"We have a lot more folks that have to get back to work. We've got a lot more work to do to make the middle class more secure again. But the question is, whose plan is better for you?" said Romney. "I have five things I'm going to do to get this economy going and they're going to create 12 million jobs. I'm not going to be cutting jobs in Virginia I'm going to be adding jobs to Virginia."

President Obama was in Virginia Beach where he appealed to veterans and military families. The president emphasized his dedication to bringing home men and women in the military and making sure they have access to education.

Fundraiser reveals Ricketts family's political divide

Michelle Obama's visit comes on the same day a pro-Romney super PAC hits the airwaves with new commercials paid for by the man whose family owns the Chicago cubs. In fact, Mrs. Obama's second stop reveals the Rickett's - at least when it comes to politics - to be a family divided.

"I voted for Barack Obama in 2008. I'm voting for Mitt Romney in 2012," one commercial says.

By today's Super PAC standards, the ads, one featuring a woman from Winfield, are tame, especially when you consider the original plan was to resurrect the fiery rhetoric of Barack Obama's former pastor, Rev. Wright.

"Debt, division and dishonesty. Barack Obama has failed for me," the ad goes.

The man - and the $10 million - behind the pro-Romney ads is Joe Ricketts, the conservative patriarch of the family that owns the Cubs.

"It's insulting to the president, it's insulting to the country," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Rahm's wrath was on full display in the days that followed. The plan to renovate Wrigley Field simply stalled.

Now -- a payback and an apology of sorts.

Ricketts' daughter Laura, long active in gay rights issues, co-hosts a $30,000 a couple Lincoln Park fundraiser featuring Michelle Obama.

"In politics, noisy squawks and money talks. Clearly the Ricketts family needs the support of the mayor who may have thrown a little hissy fit," said Paul Green, Roosevelt University political analyst.

Mayor Emanuel will not be attending the Laura Ricketts fundraiser.

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