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President Barack Obama is scheduled to make two stops in Metro Detroit April 18 for fundraisers hoping to raise over $1 million for his campaign as the contest moves into high gear with Michigan native son Mitt Romney looking like the GOP candidate to take him on in the fall election. 

Obama will attend two invite-only events at The Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn Wednesday afternoon and a dinner at the Metro Detroit home of businesswoman Denise llitch.

“I’m honored to have been asked,” by the Obama campaign to host the event, she said of the dinner she and husband,  Jim Scalici, are hosting at their  Oakland County home.

 The money chase is on now that former Penn. Senator Rick Santorum has dropped out of the GOP race, setting a clear path for Romney to become the Republican nominee once he secures  1,144 delegates, which is likely in the next few weeks.

It will then be a money chase to raise the over $1 billion political insiders say will jointly be needed by the two candidates. There will be a flurry of dinners, receptions and meets and greets by both men in coming months.

You can count Roy Roberts, who left a comfortable retirement to take over as emergency manager of Detroit Public Schools when asked by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder,  and appeared on “Michigan Matters” with Ilitch and Charlie Beckham, chairman of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce,  among those who would not miss tonight’s dinner party.

‘“I’ve known Obama for years,” said Roberts, one of the most successful African American executives in the nation who worked at General Motors and other firms. “He even introduced me to Valerie Jarrett (his senior advisor)  when I was involved with a private equity company (she has background in it).”

“Obama’s done a great job and I want to see him  re-elected,” said Roberts, who added it is a critical time in our  country and Obama needs to continue his work in a second term.

 “Do you know how much it means to be able to go into a classroom and see thousands of kids (of color) and tell them they can be anything they want to be – including president of the United States!” Roberts added with pride.

 Conversation turned to Obama and his being treated differently as our first president of color.

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“There’s no question about that,” said Roberts. “What the Republicans have done, or not done the past few years, is try to get him out of office. That’s tragic and doesn’t speak well for our country.”

Ilitch added, “when have you ever heard anyone question where someone was born?” referring to some who still raise doubts about Obama’s nationality despite the fact he has provided his birth certificate for public consumption.

Everyone agreed Michigan would get more attention this fall with the auto industry housed here and Romney being raised in the Motor City.

“It will be a great contest,” said Beckham. “The president will win as the GOP won’t put out a strong enough platform to beat him.”

“It won’t be a runaway but it will bring out some good issues — like the economy and gas prices,” Beckham added.

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