First Lady's School Stop Challenged in Miami

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

First lady Michelle Obama told supporters that she was fired up and urged them to "get it done in Florida" during a sweep through the state Tuesday, according to the Associated Press account of the event. But what some Miami school board members were fired up about was probably not what she had in mind. They were outraged over the use of Barbara Coleman Senior High School as a venue for the campaign stop for President Obama's re-election.


The Miami Herald reported on Monday before the rally took place:

Miami-Dade School Board member Renier Diaz de la Portilla has called for the event to be cancelled and board member Carlos Curbelo has asked the board attorney to reconsider his opinion that the event meets legal muster.

While School Board seats are nonpartisan, Diaz de la Portilla is running for state House as a Republican and Curbelo has worked as a Republican strategist.

"Allowing the first lady of the United States to use one of our schools explicitly to benefit the president's reelection campaign is inappropriate and sends the wrong message to our students, employees, and to taxpayers — even if the president's campaign is willing to pay for all costs resulting from the event," Curbelo wrote in the letter to School Board attorney Walter Harvey.

Curbelo told The Miami Herald on Monday: "There's a difference between official visits to schools by elected leaders and events that are for the sole purpose of advancing the interests of a political campaign." …

Under School Board policy, all groups, including political, religious and nonprofits, can apply to lease facilities from the Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Harvey said.

The district doesn't spend any money on the event for the outside group and employees cannot attend the event if they are on the clock.

So the event was likely never in any real danger of being canceled, despite the protests. Not  to mention, on the very same day, presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was attending a town hall in another swing state, Colorado. Where? You guessed it — at a public high school.

Read more at the Miami Herald.