Obama Makes Fundraising, Fairness Focus in Florida


BOCA RATON, Fla. - President Obama's penchant for piggybacking campaign fundraisers on outside-the-beltway official business (or vice versa, depending on your perspective) will today be on full display here during his third trip to the Sunshine State this year.

Obama will attend three money events that will add at least $1.9 million combined to his coffers for the 2012 presidential election, according to figures provided by the campaign.  Sandwiched between them: an "official" speech at Florida Atlantic University on the politically-charged Buffett Rule.

The stops in a critical battleground, just as the general election campaign enters a new phase with Mitt Romney emerging as the likely GOP nominee, underscores Democrats' belief that a message of tax fairness will resonate with swing voters and signals the importance of a steady cash flow to sustaining Obama's operation.

The president will waste no time cultivating cash once he's on the ground, stopping first at a $10,000-per-head luncheon with 60 supporters at the Palm Beach Gardens home of Hansel Tookes, a former Navy and United Airlines pilot turned aerospace executive who is now president of Raytheon International. Tookes is also a longtime Democratic financier.

After a mid-afternoon public address in which he will call for higher taxes on the wealthy as a matter of fairness, Obama headlines a large-scale, lower-dollar campaign event at the Westin Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., where singer/songwriter John Legend is the opening act.  Legend, who has already given the legal maximum of $5,000 for Obama's re-election according to Federal Election Commission records, also performed at the White House last month for a state dinner honoring British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Eight hundred fifty supporters are expected to crowd the Westin ballroom to hear the President's stump, officials said. General admission tickets started at $500 with a limited number of $250 seats available to the youngest donors, dubbed "Gen44? by the campaign.

Before heading back to Washington, Obama will hobnob at with affluent supporters at his most lucrative stop of he day, a reception in Golden Beach hosted by lawyer Jeremy Alters. Tickets were $15,000 apiece and 60 guests are expected, officials said.  Alters is known for his role in major class-action suits that won multi-million dollar settlements from defective Chinese drywall sellers and Bank of America for excessive overdraft fees.

Proceeds from all three events benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint account that funnels contributions to Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee, officials said. Up to $5,000 of an individual's donation goes to Obama first, while the remainder, up to $30,800, goes to the DNC.

Obama's Tuesday swing is his fourth trip of the year - and second to Florida - combining fundraising with official business.  In late February, he visited the University of Miami for a speech on gas prices and then later attended three money events in the area.

His latest round of fundraisers bring to 118 the total number he's personally attended since April 2011 when he launched a bid for re-election.