POSTED at 6:20 p.m.
The first lady's plane has left Naples.
POSTED at 6:10 p.m.
The fundraiser at the Inn on Fifth has ended.
POSTED at 5 p.m.
The first lady has arrived at the Inn on Fifth Avenue for a fundraiser.
The first lady has left the community center is now heading to the Inn on Fifth for a fundraiser.
The 2012 election could come down to thousands, or even hundreds, of votes, Michelle Obama said Friday afternoon.
Speaking to a group of supporters at the Golden Gate Community Center, the first lady encouraged locals to talk to their neighbors about the upcoming campaign.
“This all could come down to those last few thousand people we register to vote,” she said. “It might mean just one more person … That one person could be the one.”
Obama spent most of her 25 minutes on stage speaking about policy, including her husband’s stance on public education, job creation, healthcare reform, student loans and retirement benefits.
Seniors, she said, should be able to “retire with dignity. After a lifetime of work, folks should enjoy their golden years.”
Although she did not refer to her husband’s opponents in the 2012 election, Michelle Obama spoke of Barack’s experience in the White House and praised his decision-making abilities.
“All you have to guide you are your values,” she said. “In the end, that’s how those decisions are made. Who is that man? … It boils down to who you are and what you stand for. We all know who my husband is.”
Michelle Obama arrived at Golden Gate Community Center around 4:10 p.m. She is addressing campaign workers.
First Lady Michelle Obama touched down at Naples Municipal Airport just before 3:20 p.m. Friday afternoon. She stepped out of the plane in a bright red dress and pearls and immediately bent down to shake the hands of Collier students Malik Gayo, 12, and Emma Bissell, 11.
Then she waved with both hands to the 18 other students from Mike Davis and Avalon Elementary Schools. At least a dozen Secret Service and Collier police surrounded the area.
Gayo, a fifth grader at Mike Davis, said he was very nervous as he waited on the tarmac for the first lady to arrive.
"But then she hugged me and all of my butterflies went away," he said. "She acts like she's your friend."
Obama talked to Gayo and the other students for 10 minutes, asking them about sports, the special running and nutrition programs at the two elementary schools and about their favorite subjects. Gayo said he likes Obama because "she's a healthy person and helps kids be healthy."
One Avalon third-grader, Danielle Dubois, said she felt like screaming she was so excited. She remarked on the first lady's bright red dress and red heels.
"She was so beautiful and tall," Dubois said.
Gayo said he'll never forget this day. He can't wait to go home and tell his Mom.
"It's someone's dream to meet her," he said.
Superintendent of schools Kamela Patton and half a dozen of her administrative staff also met Obama.
"You can tell she's a mom," Patton said. "She speaks so easily with the kids."
Obama drove away in a tan suburban, part of an eight-car escort led by a Collier County Sheriff's police car. She will continue her Naples visit this evening with a private campaign event at the Inn on Fifth.
Dozens of people gathered in front of the Inn on Fifth around 3:30 pm hoping to catch a glimpse of First Lady Michelle Obama as guests attending the fundraiser began entering the hotel.
Elaine Albert brought her two children to Fifth Avenue South in hopes of seeing Obama.
"Everyone wants to see her," she said. "She's good."
Stephanie Douglas, a Boston resident, said she gave up a day on the beach and shopping to try t catch a glimpse.
"She's such an inspiration to women," Douglas said.
Douglas said she supported the first lady's agenda and called her visit historic.
"It would be like in my younger days not going out to see Jackie O," she said.
There is security on the street but parking garages on Eighth Street South are open, and parking on Fifth is allowed.
The first lady is expected to speak around 5:15 pm
Michelle Obama landed at Naples Municipal Airport at 3:18 p.m..
The first lady is in Naples today for a fundraiser.
Obama is expected to be greeted at the airport by students from Avalon and Mike Davis elementary schools.
Students at both schools participate in the Farm to School program, which provides students with fresh fruits and vegetables from locally grown farms. The program supports Florida farmers and local economies, and this year has provided Avalon and Mike Davis students with fruits like blueberries and watermelons.
Obama is then expected to head to a meet and greet with campaign volunteers at undisclosed location before heading to the Inn on Fifth for the fundraiser.
Lt. John Barkley, a spokesman for the Naples Police Department, said while his office would be involved in the security detail, he could not disclose any tactical information, including the first lady’s motorcade route.
Barkley did say, however, the city isn’t anticipating there will be problems accessing parking or businesses on or around Fifth Avenue South. He also said he did not believe there would be “any long term road closures.”
This may be Obama’s first visit to Naples, but Chuck Mohlke, a longtime member of the Collier County Democratic Party, said Democrats have been setting the stage for a visit of this caliber for years.