Obama raises cash for Democrats during brief Dallas visit

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by GARY REAVES

WFAA

DALLAS — Air Force One brought President Obama to Dallas for a quick visit Monday — only two hours, just long enough for a short motorcade to nearby Highland Park.

Well-heeled Democrats shelled out between $10,000 and $100,000 to attend a private affair with the president. The cash raised is aimed at helping Democrats nationwide.

"We are honored that the President of the United States is in Dallas," said Domingo Garcia, a Dallas attorney and Hispanic rights activist. "He's dealing with some of the national issues that are impacting our country: Jobs, health care, immigration reform and national security."

The meet-and-greet was held at the home of major Democratic supporter Russell Budd. The media were kept at a distance, with not even a pool camera permitted to record the proceedings.

Republicans staged a "freedom rally" of their own at nearby Franklin Stadium, but attendance was sparse. The party said it was not a response to the president's visit, but some participants certainly took it that way.

"I feel like our liberties are being taken away every single day," said Michelle Smith, who carried a sign pledging allegiance to the U.S. Constitution. "They're forcing us to pay for health care, and that's not the right of the federal government We need to stand up for the rights of United States citizens."

Those who did see the president called his brief talk inspirational, and said it generated a major cash infusion to help Democrats in their effort to keep Congress under their control.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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