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President Obama speaks Monday in Washington. Reuters

Obama to spend time with Minneapolis letter writer

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MINNEAPOLIS — A Minneapolis woman who wrote to President Barack Obama about her financial struggles will share her thoughts with him when he visits the Twin Cities on Thursday.

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The president’s visit originally was announced to be for a Thursday evening fundraiser, but it has expanded into a full day and also will include a public event Friday.

“I know staying silent about what you see and what needs changing never makes any difference so I’m writing you to let you know what it’s like for us in the middle of the country and I hope you will listen,” a woman the White House identified only as “Rebekah” wrote to Obama.

In a White House video, the president said Rebekah’s letter told about the cost of living and the cost of raising children.

“I think it’s going to be wonderful for me to let Rebekah know not only am I listening (but) that she’s not alone out there...” Obama said. “She is not alone out there.”

The White House announced Tuesday that Obama will host a town hall meeting in Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Park Thursday afternoon. He plans to attend a congressional fundraiser Thursday night.

On Friday morning, Obama will speak about the economy at Lake Harriet band shell, also in Minneapolis.

The public may get tickets for the Lake Harriet event beginning at noon today at the band shell, 4135 W. Lake Harriet Parkway. The White House reports a limited number of tickets will be available.

Obama senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said in an email that the Minneapolis trip will feature a first.

“When the president travels to Minnesota, he’ll launch the first in a series of day-in-the-life visits across the country this summer,” Pfeiffer wrote. “He’ll spend a day with Rebekah, and he’ll meet with her family and community members to discuss the issues that matter to them, host a town hall and talk about the steps we need to take as a country to help more Americans like Rebekah get ahead.”

Rebekah’s letter was one of 10 a day that the presidential staff gives to Obama from thousands that arrive at the White House. He responds to each of the 10 letters he reads a day, but Rebekah will get more than the usual response.

In his video, Obama said Rebekah’s letter “in some ways is typical of a lot of letters I get every single day.” He said Americans work hard, “but it feels like it is hard to just get ahead.”

He said he plans to tell her: “I am not only listening, I am paying attention.”

“There are actually policies out there that could end up making a difference in her life if we could get Washington to work on her behalf,” Obama added.

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