First Lady Michelle Obama, in Sarasota for a private fundraiser, acknowledged Thursday that it will take some time for the economy to improve.
Appearing at the Lobo home, in behalf of her husband's re-election campaign, the First Lady said: “The reality is that real change is slow, and it never happens all at once,” she said.
About 250 people attended the outdoor fundraiser, which cost a minimum of $500 per person and was for the Obama Victory Fund.
The First Lady was introduced by homeowner Caren Lobo, who also hosted the fundraiser at the same location with Michelle Obama four years ago prior to the 2008 presidential primaries.
This was one of several stops for her in South Florida. Earlier in the day she was in .
She started her speech defending the economy, talking about the improvements over the last several months.
“Over the past three years we have worked very hard to dig ourselves out of this mess and we have made some wonderful progress,” Obama said.
She talked about private jobs sector growth and the declining unemployment rate.
“And the unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been in nearly 3 years,” she said.
Besides talking about middle class tax cuts and the extension of unemployment benefits, the First Lady spent considerable time talking about the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay for equal work.
“It’s the first thing we did,” Mrs. Obama said. “He did it because when nearly two-thirds of women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners, he knows women success in this economy is key to family success in this economy.”
She also defended health care reform.
“Now, there are folks out there actually talking about repealing that reform,” “We have to ask ourselves: ‘are we going to stand by and let that happen.’
“Are we going back to the days when insurance companies could deny our children coverage because of a pre-existing condition, like cancer or diabetes or asthma?”
One of the biggest applause lines came when she talked about the administration killing Osama bin Laden and ending the war in Iraq.
Later she said Barack Obama reads letters of people struggling in the economy and is greatly moved by them.
“He tells me, ‘Michelle, this isn’t right, we got to fix this. We have so much more work to do.”
Even in the hardest moments, she said Barack Obama never gets distracted.
“He does it because he has a vision for this country,” she said.
She ended her 20-minute speech, telling the crowd that she’s going to fight hard and needs help.
“This is going to be hard. We can’t take anything for granted,” she said. “Tell the people the truth about who this president is and what he’s done for so many across the country and around the world. So we have to get it done.”
Rita Ferrandino, chairwoman of Sarasota County Democratic Party, said Obama's appearance solidifies Sarasota's importance in the presidential election.
"With a powerful and diverse electorate, the eyes of the nation will be rightly focused on Florida this year. And Sarasota County is earning the distinction of holding its own with big dogs like Palm Beach, Orange and the Tampa Bay area," she said.
"Mrs. Obama did an excellent job outlining the steps that will be necessary to re-elect President Obama and help him finish the job he started when we sent him to the White House three years ago," Ferrandino added. "Following the President's vision for our future, we can come together using the shared values we believe in and transform the U.S. into role model of humanity and progress for the world."