First lady ramps up fundraising efforts

Michelle Obama has expanded her fundraising schedule, adding three events for the Democratic Party to her calendar this week.

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The first lady will headline three fundraisers for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) at private homes in Washington on Tuesday. The events are closed to press, and no further details were released.

The newly announced events are in addition to a previously scheduled one — a fundraiser for Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe on Thursday.

Obama did three fundraising events last week: one in Boston for Massachusetts Senate candidate Rep. Edward Markey (D) and two events for the DNC in New York.

The first lady's approval ratings are consistently higher than her husband's, and she was a popular presence in his 2012 reelection campaign: both on the hustings and in fundraisers. 

During the 2012 race, Bloomberg Businessweek referred to the first lady as President Obama's "secret weapon" and noted she brought in at least $5.1 million at 12 fundraisers in August of that year. 

She held multiple fundraising events for the party during the presidential cycle.

Her fundraising schedule this year has been more subdued and indicates the races Democrats think are important: Markey is in a tough race for Secretary of State John Kerry's former Senate seat. And McAuliffe, the former head of the party who has close ties to the Clintons, is in a tight contest in Virginia against Republican Ken Cuccinelli, the state's attorney general.