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President Obama Holds Fundraisers In Boston

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President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic fundraiser at the Boston Center for the Arts. (credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama speaks during a Democratic fundraiser at the Boston Center for the Arts. (credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS/AP) — City crews were busy setting up barriers along Tremont Street Wednesday morning. High security meant restricted traffic for a while, which was fine for Giorgianna’s restaurant and shop.

The owners were so excited about President Obama’s visit, they created a special lunch item in the president’s honor and named it after him. It was very popular with the dozens and dozens of local police and Secret Service officers who ate there all day.

“I’ve been in this neighborhood for 40 years and this is the first presidential visit, so, I am very, very excited,” said Giorgianna’s owner, Anna Barounis.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

The president was just in Boston in March in what was a very policy-heavy visit. He talked about education at a Boston charter school and held a brief fundraiser at the Museum of Fine Arts.

Mr. Obama spoke first at a reception for about 900 people at the Cyclorama at the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End neighborhood, followed by a dinner for 130 at the Brookline, home of Jack Connors, a former advertising executive and philanthropist.

Reviewing his administration’s accomplishments on the economy and other areas is a standard part of the president’s campaign speech, but he’s added a new item: bin Laden, including a mention of him by name.

“Because of the bravery of our men and women in uniform, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America,” Mr. Obama said to thunderous applause at the reception, the second time he’s mentioned the one-time al-Qaida leader at a fundraiser since bin Laden’s May 1 death in a U.S. military raid in Pakistan.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.

He also took a crack at a potential Republican presidential challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

As governor, Romney enacted a health care law similar to what Obama signed last year, requiring most people to get health care coverage. But Republicans dislike the federal law and Romney, as a result, has been trying to draw distinctions between the state and federal versions as he prepares to enter the presidential race.

“With a little assist from the former governor of Massachusetts, we said that health care should no longer be a privilege in this country. It should be affordable and available for every American,” Mr. Obama said. “We said that in the United States of America, just like here in Massachusetts, you should never go broke because you get sick.”

At the reception, two Boston Celtics — All-Star Ray Allen and Hall of Famer and former captain Bill Russell — warmed up the crowd in a show of support before the basketball loving president appeared. Last year, Mr. Obama awarded Russell a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor the nation gives a civilian, during a White House ceremony.

To get up close, you need a powerful pocketbook. A general admission ticket to the afternoon even cost $500. A $1,000 contribution got you into the premium section. And if you wanted your photo taken with the Commander in Chief, you needed to pony up $10,000.

To get into the second fundraiser, at a private Brookline residence, tickets started at $200, but many went for up to $35,800, the federal maximum contribution.

President Obama is expected to pick up $2.2 million in about seven hours.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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