Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Obama's Miami visit and NBA stars draw campaign funds

MIAMI — President Barack Obama urged Democratic donors at an NBA star-studded Coral Gables fundraiser on Monday to get out the vote and boost Democrats, telling them that his 2008 election "was only the beginning of the dream."

Obama spoke at the home of former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning, who was joined by Miami Heat players Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and former L.A. Lakers and NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

Obama told donors that the U.S. economy is beginning to recover because lawmakers were willing to take tough votes. But Republicans, he said, "said no each and every time. … They don't have new ideas.

"We've got to tell them in this election you can't have the keys back," he said of Republicans, whom he accuses at fundraisers of driving the economy into a ditch, and then standing around "with Slurpees" as Democrats labor to fix it. "You don't know how to drive!"

The event raised an estimated $1 million for congressional Democrats and Rep. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton, whom Obama apologized for calling Ron Klain in his introductory remarks. Klain is vice president Joe Biden's chief of staff.

He gave two speeches open to the press; Klein did not appear next to him at either.

Obama boosted another campaign before leaving Washington, recording a radio ad for the lagging U.S. Senate campaign of Kendrick Meek. The president urges supporters to vote for Meek, noting, "If we work together, he will win."

Obama's visit comes a week before early voting starts Monday and marks his third fundraising trip to Miami this year as he labors to protect Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. Republicans hope to pick up 39 Democratic seats to overtake the House and have set their sights on Klein's Broward-Palm Beach swing seat. In 2006, Klein ousted longtime Republican E. Clay Shaw amid voter anger about President George W. Bush and the Iraq war.

Now the political mood has shifted, and Allen West, a black Republican with a $4 million war chest, has tapped into anger about the economy and Obama's sagging popularity ratings.

Obama touted Klein as a "strong ally for Israel" and a lawmaker who has fought for sanctions against Iran. He said Klein has looked out for small-business owners in the district. "He knows the people of South Florida; he has been listening to them," Obama said.

Before the fundraiser, Klein announced endorsements from several Republican city officials.

West sent an e-mail Monday blasting Klein for the fundraiser. He contrasted the up to $17,600 ticket price to the $5 breakfast he said he shared with House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner at the Gun Club Cafe in West Palm Beach. "You know your opponent is in trouble when they call in one of the most unpopular people in the United States for help," West said in a statement.

A group of about 20 activists pushing for a quicker end to the military's "don't ask, don't tell," policy protested the event.

Obama's Miami visit and NBA stars draw campaign funds 10/11/10 [Last modified: Monday, October 11, 2010 10:48pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 6 essential things you'll need before going to a theme park this summer


    With Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, we're back with a new a guide to what's new or noteworthy in Central Florida attractions.

  2. BREAKING NEWS: High winds force Sunshine Skyway to close as storms move in to Tampa Bay

    Public Safety

    The Sunshine Skyway bridge has been closed because of the weather conditions, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office has announced.

    The Sunshine Skyway was closed Wednesday afternoon because of high winds. MONICA HERNDON   |   Times

  3. 'Biggest winner' of session, Richard Corcoran, paid $20k to the guy who named him biggest winner


    In the final days of the 2017 legislative session, as Tallahassee obsessed over whether a budget deal might happen or implode like Frank Artiles' political career, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran decided he could use some friendly P.R. Corcoran's political committee, Florida Roundtable, paid $20,000 to Extensive …

  4. Clearwater officer fired after investigation reveals use of unnecessary force on teen

    Public Safety

    A Clearwater police officer was fired after an internal investigation found he used unnecessary force on a teenager in custody, the agency said Wednesday.

  5. Meadowlawn Middle School teacher arrested on molestation charges


    ST. PETERSBURG — A Meadowlawn Middle School teacher was arrested Wednesday morning on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said.

    Joseph Zavalnak, 41, a Meadowlawn Middle School teacher, was arrested May 24, 2017on charges that he molested three underage girls, police said. He faces  five counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 18, police said. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]