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First lady Michelle Obama plans Denver fundraiser for Michael Bennet

2:45 PM, Sep 21, 2010   |    comments
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"This is where we thought she could be most effective and useful in the run-up to the election," a senior administration official said, who asked not to be identified, in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

The Bennet fundraiser will be Oct. 14 in Denver, though details have not yet been announced.

"We're looking forward to welcoming the first lady back to Denver," Bennet spokesman Trevor Kincaid said. "Like Michael, she is very much concerned that we are at risk of leaving less opportunity to the next generation than we inherited and shares Michael's commitment to grow our economy, create jobs, and improve our education system. "

Bennet was appointed to the Senate by Gov. Bill Ritter in 2009 when Ken Salazar was named Secretary of the Interior. He faces Republican Ken Buck in the November general election.

The first lady's political schedule for the fall, unveiled by the White House Tuesday, has her doing fundraisers for Bennet and three other incumbent Democratic senators - Russ Feingold in Wisconsin, Patty Murray in Washington and Barbara Boxer in California, along with a fundraiser for Alex Giannoulias, the Democratic Senate nominee in Obama's home state of Illinois.

She'll also do a fundraiser for three Democratic House candidates in Illinois - incumbents Debbie Halvorson and Bill Foster, and Dan Seals, who's seeking an open seat.

Michelle Obama has been considered to be one of the most popular administration officials, largely because she generally operates outside the partisan realm. An AP-GfK Poll released last week showed that 68 percent of voters had a favorable opinion of the first lady, compared to 57 percent for the president.

The White House received a large number of requests for Democratic campaign appearances for the first lady, said the senior administration official. The White House narrowed the request to the handful of events announced Tuesday, though others might still be added.

The campaign schedule was coordinated in conjunction with the first lady's official schedule and her time with her two daughters, the official said.

The senior administration official indicated the first lady would avoid direct attacks on Republicans.

"She will talk about how the country is beginning to turn a corner in terms of strengthening the middle class and putting in place strong reforms," the official said.

Michelle Obama last visited Colorado in November 2009 for a Denver program tied to her mentoring initiative.

Written by Robert Moore of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

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