President Obama Boston trip aims to raise funds

President Obama is swooping into Boston to raise money for the Democratic National Committee on Wednesday, less than a week after Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey and former governor Mitt Romney held a major fund-raiser for the Republican Party in Boston.

About 25 donors have shelled out as much as $32,400 to attend a small “round-table discussion” with Obama in Cambridge and another 70 donors have given $5,000 to $20,000 to attend a fund-raising dinner later in the evening at Artists for Humanity in South Boston.


Earlier in the day, Obama will stop in Connecticut to push for an increase in the federal minimum wage, an issue he has made a centerpiece of his domestic agenda.

Governor Deval Patrick, who has sought an increase in the minimum wage in Massachusetts, is planning to join the president at that event at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain and attend the fund-raisers in Cambridge and Boston.

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Obama’s fund-raising swing comes as he faces a crisis in Ukraine, as well as problems closer to home.

Massachusetts, which pioneered universal health insurance when Romney was governor, is among the states struggling to adapt to the more complex requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the federal version of that law signed by Obama. The state is facing a backlog of thousands of applications for subsidized coverage, and the website for its health exchange has been plagued with error messages since it was revamped in October.

But Obama’s loyal backers say that, despite the troubles, they are eager to support him.


“I’m always interested in seeing the president of the United States,” said Alan D. Solomont, a former ambassador to Spain and Andorra under Obama who is planning to attend at least one of Wednesday’s fund-raisers.

Woody Kaplan, a major benefactor of the Democratic Party, who lives in the Back Bay, said heavily Democratic Boston is always friendly territory for the president.

“Boston has been incredibly supportive of Obama in both elections, and I think he feels at home with us,” said Kaplan, who said he cannot attend Wednesday’s events because he has already given the party the maximum amount allowable under federal law.

Obama does not plan to hold any public events while in town, and his fund-raiser in Cambridge will be closed to the press. But his dinner in South Boston will be open to select media, meaning his remarks there will be made public.

Philip W. Johnston, a former chairman of the state Democratic Party, said Obama is using his local stops solely to help his party retain control of the US Senate and avoid losing seats in the US House in the mid-term elections in the fall.

Most of the pivotal races are in other states, but both national parties are closely invested in what is expected to be a competitive fight for the Sixth Congressional District seat currently held by US Representative John F. Tierney, a Salem Democrat. Tierney is facing a challenge in the Democratic primary from a political newcomer, Seth Moulton, and a potential rematch against Republican Richard Tisei, a former state senator who narrowly lost to Tierney in 2012.

Michael Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @mlevenson.
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