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Tory Burch, Jason Collins Headline First Lady’s Fundraising Efforts for Democrats

At events headlined by fashion designer Tory Burch, NBA player Jason Collins and Bravo host Andy Cohen, First Lady Michelle Obama sounded a theme more familiar to an election year: Time for donors to step up and write checks for Democrats.

“If you haven’t maxed out, you know, what’s my motto? Max out,” she told donors gathered on Wednesday night in New York for the Democratic National Committee’s annual LGBT gala, even urging them to chant “max out,” fund-raising jargon that refers to the maximum amount that donors can give in an election cycle.

The record amounts raised by President Obama’s reelection campaign last year may have instilled a sense of donor fatigue, but Obama and her husband are once again raising money for the party and committees to ensure that Democrats retain the Senate in 2014 and perhaps have a shot at winning back the House.

The Obamas are continuing to tap show biz support.

The president was in Chicago attending a series of fundraisers, and he is scheduled to be in Los Angeles on June 7 for a $10,000-per-person event at the Santa Monica Canyon home of Peter Chernin.

“Yes, it’s easy to get frustrated and to become cynical,” the first lady said at the LGBT event. “And now that the excitement that a presidential campaign has faded, it is so tempting to just turn off that TV and wait another four years to reengage. But make no mistake about it, while we are tuning out, let me tell you, other folks are tuning in. Others are doing everything they can to make their voices heard. And we are seeing the effects of that kind of imbalance every single day in Washington.”

Collins was added to the bill of the LGBT event just days after he came out in a Sports Illustrated story, in what was regarded as a breakthrough in professional sports. She said they are “so proud of your talent, your character, your courage.” She also said Cohen “keeps me laughing, not just backstage but on TV.” Also getting a shout out was Sara Bareilles, who performed at the event. Tickets started at $1,250, with about 350 people attending.

Earlier, Michelle Obama spoke at Burch’s home, with guests such as Julianne Moore, Vera Wang and Anna Wintour among those attending, according to a pool report of the event. The first lady, wearing a black dress and a pair of black necklaces, thanked those in the fashion-centric crowd “who have helped me become the poised and stylish woman that I have become,” as the audience laughed. About 100 guests paid between $5,000 and $25,000 to attend.

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