Table for five: Obama to dine with Kansas City penpals

Tue Jul 29, 2014 6:12am EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Valerie, a single mom from Kansas City, Missouri, who owns a small business, wrote to President Barack Obama last week "in the middle of the night," describing just how hard she works.

On Tuesday, she will get the chance to tell Obama in person as one of four people the president dines with in a visit to the midwestern city - part of a summertime White House campaign to rouse Democratic voters ahead of November midterm elections.

"Are you serious?" said Valerie - whose last name was not provided - to Josh Earnest, Obama's press secretary, who phoned her to invite her to the dinner.

"Oh my God! I would love it!" she told Earnest in a video made by the White House (

Obama has crisscrossed the country for the past month dining with ordinary Americans who have written him with their concerns about the economy.

The visits are designed to motivate Democrats to vote in the November elections, when Republicans stand a good chance of taking control of the Senate and are expected to keep control of the House of Representatives.

If that happens, Obama will have a hard time advancing his legislative goals during his last two years in office.

Obama reads 10 letters a night selected by his staff from the tens of thousands received by the White House each day.   Continued...