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President Obama Spends Evening Touting Health Care In Dallas

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – President Barack Obama spent the evening in Dallas. Air Force One touched down just before 5 p.m. The President spent several hours in North Texas — meeting with supporters and raising money — all while in the visible eye of protesters.

Mr. Obama left Dallas Love Field just before nine o’clock. But he made use of his short visit, pitching expanded Medicaid and still managing to raise several hundred thousand dollars.

Despite a late arrival caused when security dogs smelled something near a vehicle in D.C., President Obama stopped to shake hands with a crowd of admirers at Dallas Love Field Airport.

One person told CBS 11 News, “It made me cry. It was amazing.” Another person said, ‘I shook his hand and it was like the most amazing thing ever.  ‘Cause he was like right there!”

The President then paid a visit to the Temple Emanu-El, addressing volunteers who’ve helped educate the public and enroll them in the new federal health insurance marketplace. While at the temple, Mr. Obama said, “You’ve all heard about the website woes [and] nothing drives me more crazy.”

Despite online problems with the Affordable Care Act, the President focused his speech on Medicare expansion, arguing that Dallas alone would qualify for $500 million in federal aid. “Here in the Dallas area 133,000 people, who don’t currently have health insurance, would immediately get health insurance without having to go through the website.”

Governor Rick Perry has rejected Texas’ involvement in the voluntary portion of the Affordable Care Act, with state republicans calling it a broken system.

State Representative Jason Villalba, who represents Dallas, said, “”We recognize that Texas has a significant number of uninsured, but we want to make sure that the plan that we craft and tailor for Texans is one that is created by Texans, not someone in Washington.”

While in North Texas, President Obama also spoke at two private fundraisers to drum up dollars for democratic senate candidates.

Hosted by local attorneys, a reception and dinner sold tickets worth up to $32,500. But for fans the prize was a chance to meet the President. One person said, “It was wonderful.  It’s a once in a lifetime.”

During the President’s visit, security around the city was extra tight. Dallas police lined the motorcade route, and members of the Secret Service swept areas where the President stopped.

As far as CBS 11 crews have learned, there were no security issues.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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