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Park City • First lady Michelle Obama encouraged about 250 Utah supporters to help finish the work her husband started during his first term, telling the cheering crowd, "I want you all fired up."
"We need your help to finish what we've started and we need all of you to be with us for that next phase of the journey," she said. "It's going to be long and it's going to be hard, because there's nothing easy about what Barack Obama is trying to do."
The first lady arrived at the event about an hour late after a mechanical problem forced the party to change planes before leaving the Washington area.
There were no scheduled public events but supporters gathered at the road leading to the mountainside community where the fundraiser was held. Another small cluster of backers holding signs awaited the first lady farther up the road near the entrance to the gated area.
Park City resident Laurie West rode her bike to the motorcade route, where she was among those awaiting the Michelle Obama's arrival Tuesday.
"I just wanted to catch a sight of the first lady and show our support and patriotism," she said. While West said she is not necessarily a fan of the Obamas, "I think it's important to show respect for the position."
The event brought in about $420,000, according to Wayne Holland, the former Utah Democratic Party chairman who helped organize the fundraiser.
During her remarks to the group, Obama listed what her husband has accomplished during his first term: turning "an economy that was on the brink of collapse to an economy that is starting to grow again," cutting taxes for middle-class families, extending a child-care tax credit, signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and passing health care reform.
"And today, because my husband ended 'don't ask, don't tell,' our troops will never again have to lie about who they are to serve the country they love," she said. There are now three women on the Supreme Court for the first time two appointed by President Barack Obama and "the man behind the 9/11 attacks and so many other horrific acts of violence has finally been brought to justice.
"I think it is fair to say we have made some significant progress over these last couple of years, and we should be proud of what we've accomplished," she added. "But we should never be satisfied because we know we still have so much work to do."
Children don't have what they need to succeed, the first lady said, and too many people are struggling to pay the bills. "'Michelle, it's not right,'" Obama recounted her husband telling her. "'We have to do more, and we have to fix this.'"
"Are you in? Are you ready for this?" she urged the crowd amid loud cheers. "Because I am in this. I am in this. I want you all fired up. I want you working like nothing else."
Bev Dawson, who lives in Davis County, said it was a magnificent setting for a fundraiser and was excited to meet the first lady and have her photo taken with her.
"I was very taken with Mrs. Obama and her talk, which certainly espoused the values I have for America and the families that live here," Dawson said. "I just thoroughly enjoyed listening to her. She was such a good speaker and such a thoughtful speaker."
Dawson said she left the event energized and eager to pitch in to get Obama re-elected – although she concedes she has lots of work to do in her predominantly Republican neighborhood.
The Republican National Committee, in anticipation of the first lady's appearance, said that with 9.2 percent unemployment and 2.5 million jobs lost since he took office, President Obama's economic policies have "failed."
"The 2012 election will hinge on the economy, and the Obama administration knows they will need every dollar they raise in Utah to spin their failed economic agenda," said RNC spokesman Ryan Mahoney. "The Obama administration can hold all the fundraisers they want in Utah but no amount of campaign cash raised can erase his dismal economic record."
About a half-dozen Olympians were on hand at Tuesday's fundraiser, including: moguls silver medalist Shannon Bahrke, men's Nordic combined gold medalist Bill Demong, women's skeleton slider Katie Koczynski, men's skeleton gold medalist Jimmy Shea, women's bobsled silver medalist Shauna Rohbock and freestyle skiing Hall of Famer Trace Worthington.
The fundraiser was held in the mountain home Mark and Nancy Gilbert overlooking the Snyderville Basin. Mark Gilbert, an investor with Barclays Wealth, is deputy finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee, was an early supporter and finance committee member in 2008 and is also a member of the 2012 finance committee.
Tickets for the breakfast fundraiser started at $1,000 with a VIP reception and photograph for donors who gave $10,000 and some donors giving up to $35,800, split among the campaign and national party accounts.
President Obama has canceled several fundraisers as negotiations about whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling have dragged on.
The Gilberts hosted then-Sen. Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama for a fundraiser in 2007. Mrs. Obama also campaigned for her husband in Utah in February 2008 and paid a courtesy call to leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
After her speech Tuesday, the first lady headed back to the airport and attended a fundraising reception in Aspen, Colo.
Twitter: @RobertGehrke politics