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First Lady to fundraise, talk to military families during Southland visit

6/13/2011, 7:12 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--First Lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to hold fundraising events for President Barack Obama's 2012 reelection campaign in Pasadena and Bel Air today and speak in Beverly Hills on a panel about military service.

A $1,000 per-person lunchtime fundraiser will take place at a home in Pasadena. Organizers expected about 500 people. For $10,000, a couple can have their picture taken with Obama and have "private time" with her, according to organizer Lena Kennedy.

A $1,000 per person dinner will be held tonight in Bel Air, according to Wilshire and Washington, the political website of the entertainment trade newspaper Daily Variety.

Obama will join Katherine Fugate, creator of the Lifetime series "Army Wives," in a panel discussion on the unique challenges faced by military families.

Obama is expected to share stories about the work of Joining Forces, an initiative she and Jill Biden, wife of vice president Joe Biden, started in April, intended to help volunteers who want to help military families find service opportunities.

"You see, these women--and men--they are heroes," Obama told a Long Beach crowd in October. "And it's time that we recognize that the challenges they face and the obstacles they overcome and the contributions they make, all of that isn't just a military issue. It's an American issue."

Director J.J. Abrams will moderate the panel, which will also discuss ways television and film can better reflect the reality of military families.

"We have to talk about this," Obama said. "Their needs, and their concerns, should be on the agenda of every woman and every American, because they represent the very best this country has to offer. And it's time that each of us did our part to give them the support they need, the recognition they deserve and the gratitude they've earned."

Obama plans to make additional California stops Tuesday in Oakland and San Francisco before returning to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.