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Thursday 18 September 2014

Michelle in hot water over appeal for 'big fat cheques'

Peter Foster

Published 26/07/2014 | 02:30

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Michelle Obama asked political donors for 'the biggest, fattest cheque that you can possibly write'
Michelle Obama asked political donors for 'the biggest, fattest cheque that you can possibly write'

MICHELLE Obama has long been one of America's most vocal campaigners against obesity, but the fight against fat apparently doesn't extend to cheques from political donors.

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"We need you to write the biggest, fattest cheque that you can possibly write," Mrs Obama told a group of Democrat donors this week at a fundraising event in Chicago, triggering immediate accusations of hypocrisy from conservatives.

Barack Obama has been a leading critic of America's campaign finance laws which were significantly relaxed in 2010 when the US Supreme Court ruled that corporations could spend virtually unlimited sums on politics.

Without apparent irony, Mrs Obama prefaced her request at a dinner last Thursday night with an attack on the vested interests that she said were distorting American politics.

"So, yes, there's too much money in politics. There's special interests that have too much influence. But they had all that money and all of that influence back in 2008 and 2012 – and we still won those elections," she said according to a White House transcript of the event.

She added: "There is something you can do right now today to make a difference, and that is to write a big, fat cheque. I kid you not," she said. "I'm going to be honest with you. That's what we need you to do right now." Mrs Obama was speaking to 100 major donors at a dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago where the singer Beyonce also performed.

With midterm elections in November, the US political fundraising season is now in full swing. While Mrs Obama was speaking in Chicago her husband was on a three-day fundraising swing through Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The White House faced criticism this week that Mr Obama was neglecting his duties by going fundraising when the world was grappling with conflict in Ukraine and Gaza.

Impeach

Meanwhile, the White House is preparing for a Republican attempt to impeach President Barack Obama as he takes executive actions on immigration and health care policies stalled in Congress, senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said.

"I would not discount that possibility" of an impeachment attempt, Mr Pfeiffer told reporters at a roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitoryesterday in Washington. "The president acting on immigration reform will certainly up the likelihood that they will contemplate impeachment at some point."

House Republicans are moving to sue Mr Obama over his use of executive authority with the Affordable Care Act, and Mr Pfeiffer said the administration was considering action to bypass Congress in dealing with immigration. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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