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Michelle Obama bats for Ami Bera

PTI 04 Nov 2014, 7:13:20 AM IST

Washington: Hours before the crucial US mid-term polls, Congressman Ami Bera's re-election campaign got a shot in the arm with US First Lady Michelle Obama appealing to voters in California seat, where the Indian-American is locked in a tight contest, to vote for him.

Bera is the only Indian-American in the current Congress and third ever person from the community to be elected to the US House of Representatives. He was elected from California's seventh Congressional district with a thin margin in the 2012 general elections.

49-year-old Bera is facing a tough competition from Republican Doug Ose, a businessman who served three terms in Congress through 2005.

The high profile endorsement from Michelle Obama comes days after former US President Bill Clinton canvassed for Bera in his constituency. The two campaigns have given Bera a clear edge over Ose.

"Hi, this is Michelle Obama, and I'm calling because Barack and I are counting on you to support Ami Bera and the Democratic ticket this November 4," she said in a recorded phone message.

"In an election this close, your vote is more important than ever before. We can't risk having more out of touch folks coming to Congress, just because a handful of Democratic voters stayed home," she said.

"Your vote for Ami Bera will make a real difference in supporting our President. And it will help us create good jobs, guarantee equal pay for women, and build better schools for all our children. You've been one of our reliable supporters in the past, and I hope you will make your voice heard again this year. Thanks so much," Michelle said in the phone message which was released yesterday. Bera's spokesperson Allison Teixeira said that Michelle was reminding voters why it's vital to get out and vote today.

"Voting is how we ensure the people looking out for us our elected to represent us and there's a very clear contrast in this race: Dr Bera is looking out for middle class families while his opponent is only interested in giving handouts to his friends on Wall Street and Washington special interests," Teixeira said.

Meanwhile, Ose alleged that Bera is a representative of Washington DC and not a local candidate.
"Throughout my life, I have been involved in this community. I am the locals' choice, and I will deliver needed solutions for California's 7th Congressional District," he said in a Facebook post.

"I know what it takes to create jobs and get Sacramento County's economy moving again. Congressman Bera is DC's choice and does not have this district's best interests in mind.

"Time and again he has voted in lockstep with the Obama-Pelosi, job-killing policies and has proven to be part of the problem when it comes to the do-nothing Congress. Putting Washington ahead of Sacramento is unacceptable," he said.