President Obama to Return to Los Angeles for Fundraising Gala (Exclusive)
President Barack Obama will return to Los Angeles on Monday, Oct. 24 for a national fundraising gala specifically soliciting Latino support. No location has been set for the event, but invitations will go out shortly, asking potential donors to save the date. Among the co-hosts are news anchor Giselle Fernandez and attorney Manny Sanchez.
The event is being organized by the Futuro Fund, a group of Hispanic Obama supporters from across the country. Donations to attend the gala range from $1,250 to $35,800.
Obama enjoys widespread support among Hollywood's Latino community, where two of his most prominent backers are Desperate Housewive's Eva Longoria and Spanish-language radio star Piolin, whose broadcasts helped summon an estimated 1 million people to marches demanding immigration reform.
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Most of Los Angeles' and California's Latino elected officials, including Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and labor leaders entered the last election cycle as Hilary Clinton supporters, but enthusiastically campaigned for Obama in the general election, where Latino voters played a key role in swinging previously red states into the Democratic column.
With the president's campaign strategists anticipating a razor-thin contest in 2012, the Latino vote again looms large, particularly in key Southwestern states like Texas, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, where it can be the difference between victory and defeat.
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Like Latinos generally, the invitees to this month's L.A. gala will be looking for reassurance that the President intends to more agressively pursue comprehensive immigration and to reduce a deportation rate that exceeds that of George W. Bush's administration and which many analysts allege splinters working Latino families. During his last campaign, Obama promised to introduce a comprehensive immigration reform bill during his first year in office, a committment he and his aides say was thwarted by implacable Republican opposition.
Perhaps the best thing the President has going with Latinos this time around is the current field of candidates in pursuit of the Republicans' nomination. They seem determined to make any deviation from a hardline anti-immigrant posture a capital offense, which is likely to push Latinos further into Obama's embrace.