First Lady Michelle Obama Wraps Up Fundraising Trip in San Francisco

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    NEWSLETTERS

    First Lady Michelle Obama wraps up her Bay Area visit. Joe Rosato Jr. reports. (Published Friday, Jan 31, 2014)

    Was it the black SUV? Or the second black SUV? The police car? What about that big gray car? These questions swirled through the minds of the Nashville couple straining for a glimpse of First Lady Michelle Obama.

    A half hour earlier, the couple had abruptly jumped out of a taxi near San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel, postponing their trip to the Academy of Sciences for a chance to see the First Lady in person.

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    “We saw this and he knew it was lunchtime for Michelle Obama,” said Lee Pratt. “So we pulled the cab over and here we are.”

    In the end, their glimpse of the First Lady was limited to a glimpse of her motorcade speeding away.

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    But some 600 women did see the first lady Friday morning, after plunking down anywhere from $500 to $32,400 to see Mrs. Obama during a fundraiser for the Democratic Congressional Committee inside the Fairmont.

    It was the third fundraiser attended by the First Lady in San Francisco in two days. She was joined by Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Rep. Barbara Lee and a slew of other elected leaders. Singer Joan Baez serenaded the crowd with John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

    Mrs. Obama encouraged the crowd to open its pocketbooks to support Democratic candidates up for election in 2014.

    "We can't just sit back and hope for the best, and be surprised and outraged when things don't work out,'' Mrs. Obama said. "You can write a check.”

    Afterward, some women attending the event said they were inspired to make donations to support Democratic causes.

    “Women and minorities don’t show up for mid-terms,” said Girija Brilliant who attended the event. “So she was saying it’s on us if we don’t show up.”

    Some critics were upset Mrs. Obama didn’t hold any public events, instead limiting her appearances to a trio of fundraisers. Her trip was originally scheduled for last October, but was postponed because of the Federal Government shutdown.

    A handful of demonstrators, calling for a single-payer insurance system, joined gawkers across the street from the Fairmont. A few feet away, the couple from Nashville watched the motorcade of police cars and motorcycles trail out of sight on California Street. Then they set-out to hail a cab for the Academy of Sciences.