MIAMI – US President Barack Obama held a fundraiser Thursday at the home of famed Cuban-American singer Gloria Estefan as his Democratic Party girds for a major mid-term battle ahead of November elections.
Obama arrived shortly after 5:00 pm (2100 GMT) for the function which, at 30,400 dollars per head, was expected to raise some two million dollars, according to the Democratic National Committee.
But the star singer and her husband Emilio Estefan, who declare themselves politically independent, were already drawing criticism from some leaders in Florida's huge Cuban-American community, many of whom are Republican-leaning, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
The three southern Florida lawmakers in the US House of Representatives in Washington are all Cuban-born Republicans.
One of them, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, has announced he is not seeking re-election, and a former director of the Cuban-American National Foundation announced last week he will run for the vacant seat as a Democrat.
Obama traveled to Florida earlier Thursday to deliver a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, where he said he was "100 percent committed" to US space agency NASA's future.
Gloria Estefan, who sings in both English and Spanish and has sold more than 90 million albums worldwide, is a cultural icon in the Cuban-American community.
In March she and her husband led thousands of people in a protest through Miami's Little Havana neighborhood to protest the human rights situation in Cuba.