By Carol Cain
President Barack Obama is coming to the Motor City for a dinner party April 18 thrown for him compliments of businesswoman Denise Ilitch.
Though she’s the eldest child of Mike and Marian Ilitch, founders of Little Caesars, and some might have assumed she’d serve pizza – as she jokingly said she would on a recent “Michigan Matters” episode — that won’t be the case.
“Although I love pizza and I am sure the president would too, the menu will be typical Michigan fare for a fundraising dinner,” Ilitch said Thursday.
It is one of two events that the Obama campaign will hold in Metro Detroit that day with a goal of raising $1 million between them.
Ilitch plans to serve Michigan products, including white fish, vegetables and home brews.
“We’ll also be proudly playing Motown as our background music as our nod to our rich heritage,” she added.
“My husband and I are so pleased to be hosting this event for President Obama,” said Ilitch, a Democrat, who has had a political friendship with Obama since 2008 when she successfully ran as a regent at the University of Michigan and he for president.
“More importantly, the president of the United States is coming to our hometown and state. I’m going to be able to help showcase Michigan to our president,” Ilitch added.
Saul Anuzis, former chair of the Michigan Republican Party, who appeared on the show with Ilitch and Chris Holman, CEO of the Michigan Business Network, applauded Ilitch,
“I’m not a fan of Barack Obama, but I think Denise Ilitch has the right attitude about making this about Michigan and the issues that impact our state,” Anuzis said.
“Any time the president of the United States gets to visit Michigan and find out more it’s a win-win for everybody,” Anuzis added.
There will be a variety of community and business leaders attending the dinner fundraiser who will have a chance to talk to Obama.
On another note, the fight for presidential campaign dollars is on now that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has dropped out of the GOP race, setting a clear path for Michigan native son Mitt Romney to become the Republican nominee once he secures 1,144 delegates.
It will be a chase to raise over $1 billion political insiders say the two candidates will need to compete in the fall campaign.
Holman, who is also chairman of the National Small Business Association, also talked about being at the White House last Thursday when Obama signed the Jobs Act which will make it easier for startups and small businesses to gain access to capital.
“It allows for crowd funding and a new avenue to get capital,” Holman, who is also the former Small Business Advocate for the state of Michigan.
(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of “ Michigan Matters” airing 11:30 am Sundays on CBS 62. She writes about business and politics in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.)