First Lady Michelle fires up Obama faithful


Michelle Obama spoke of the shared values she said guided Barack Obama as president

US First Lady Michelle Obama has made an impassioned speech backing her husband, President Barack Obama, for another four-year White House term.

Closing the first night of the Democratic convention, Mrs Obama spoke of the vision and values that guided him as president.

She said it was an "extraordinary privilege" to serve as first lady.

President Obama will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, and face Republican Mitt Romney in November.

A recent opinion poll suggests Mr Obama maintains a thin lead over Mr Romney.

But an ABC News/Washington Post poll released as the convention got under way in Charlotte, North Carolina, showed Mr Obama with the lowest pre-convention favourability for an incumbent president since the 1980s.

'Kindred spirit'

The president is aiming to recapture the political spotlight over the next few days, after last week's Republican convention.

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The Democratic strategy is, above all, not about making converts but getting supporters excited once again, or at least excited enough to vote”

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Mrs Obama said that four years ago she "believed deeply" in her husband's "vision for this country", but worried about how a run for president would change their life and the life of their daughters.

In a speech well received by a hyped-up crowd, she shared memories from their 23-year relationship, and noted that she had found a "kindred spirit" in a man whose values were similar to hers.

"Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable - their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves."

She added: "Barack knows what it means when a family struggles. He knows what it means to want something more for your kids and grandkids.

"Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it… and he wants everyone in this country to have that same opportunity, no matter who we are, or where we're from, or what we look like, or who we love."

Rahm Emanuel launched an impassioned defence of the man he worked for in the White House

The first lady's speech connected their shared background to the values she said guided Mr Obama as president.

"As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people," she said, "but at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values and your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are."

She said Mr Obama was inspired by his own background when advocating for laws involving fair pay for women, healthcare and student debt.

He had not been changed by the White House, she said, and was "still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago".

"He's the same man who started his career by turning down high-paying jobs and instead working in struggling neighbourhoods where a steel plant had shut down, fighting to rebuild those communities."

In the toughest moments, she added, "he just keeps getting up and moving forward… with patience and wisdom, and courage and grace."

US President Barack Obama and his daughters Malia (left) and Sasha watch First Lady Michelle Obama's speech on TV, in the Treaty Room of the White House on 4 September 2012 Mr Obama and daughters Malia (left) and Sasha watch Mrs Obama's speech from the White House

Earlier, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, brought the gala into session with a strike of the gavel.

Shortly after the convention opened, delegates cheered their backing for the party's new platform in an open voice vote.

Among the changes found in the text of the party's 2012 platform was the removal of language from the Middle East section referring to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

That message was replaced with a passage referring to the party's "unshakeable commitment to Israel's security" and Mr Obama's "steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel".

The change prompted criticism from Republicans and Mitt Romney, who accuse Mr Obama of "selling out" a key US ally.

Michelle Obama - press reaction

According to the New York Times' Alessandra Stanley, Michelle Obama's speech was a reminder that the role of president's wife "seems pretty much frozen in the template set by Jacqueline Kennedy and Pat Nixon".

Writing in the The Washington Post, EJ Dionne said the speech was "thoroughly apolitical on the surface" and that it "carried multiple political messages".

Paul West, in the Los Angeles Times, said Mrs Obama set out "to humanise a candidate who often comes across as aloof and remote from the lives of ordinary Americans".

Politico's Jennifer Epstein said Mrs Obama's message was simple: "We are you."

Tuesday's first session saw a series of Democratic governors, members of Congress, mayors and electoral candidates speak in support of Mr Obama and his policies, most notably his much-criticised healthcare reform law.

A video tribute to the late Senator Edward Kennedy included clips from his 1994 Senate debate with Mr Romney, and independent Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee argued that his former party - the Republicans - had lost their way and had forfeited the label of conservative.

Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said the next president would set the tone for the next 40 years.

"It will be the president's leadership that determines how we as a nation meet the challenges that face the middle class. It is the president's values that shape a future in which the middle class has hope," he said.

Julian Castro, the Latino Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, gave the keynote address immediately before Mrs Obama.

The Democratic gathering will see Mr Obama and Vice-President Joe Biden formally re-nominated as the party's presidential and vice-presidential candidates on Wednesday.

Deval Patrick: 'Let's start by standing up for President Barack Obama'

Later that evening, there will be speeches from Elizabeth Warren, who is fighting Republican incumbent Scott Brown in a high-profile race for a Massachusetts Senate seat, and former President Bill Clinton.

The convention culminates on Thursday with speeches from Mr Obama and Mr Biden.

Republican nominee Mitt Romney is expected to spend the week preparing for a series of debates with Mr Obama.

The gala also offers the Democrats the chance to make a high-profile pitch to voters in North Carolina, a state that narrowly voted for Mr Obama in 2008, but is now firmly up for grabs.

A small North Carolina town struggles to feel passion for their president after suffering devastating job losses.


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US Presidential Election 2012

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  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    94. "seems to be a lot of dislike for Romney in this country even though nobody knows him here"

    Unless you know him personally, you don't know him better than anyone else who watches TV or reads a few blogs. What we DO know of him is that he used to agree with Obama about national healthcare and now opposes it purely because he's running against him. And that he's paid roughly 8p in taxes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    You think communism epitomises decency? Ask Soviet era Russians and people who lived through East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and Hungary in the aftermath of WW2 how "decent" communism is....

    By the way, you didn't write a comment on HYS supportive of Obama, Government did that!

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    The US has got itself in a mess.

    As here, around half the working population pay no net tax after benefits (welfare). An easy political sell, of course;

    "vote for me, pay no tax, we'll get it off the 'rich'".

    But there aren't enough rich and they can avoid taxes. So the middle classes get squeezed until they lose incentive

    Disaster looms, no-one is brave enough to face the truth.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    People are blaming Obama, but his hands are mostly shackled by the representatives in the houses.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    Makes you wonder who the Americans are voting for - Barack or Michelle? Thanks goodness our PM's wives stay out of Politics - remember Cherie Blair!

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    yes the HYS boards do seem to be dominated by one political class"

    Err, no, they seem to be spread across the political spectrum and in several dimensions so simplistic bi-polar left/right labels are quite meaningless and misleading. Despite krokodil's assertion yesterday no group or individual has a monopoly of "nasty, intolerant and bigoted comments" on HYS.

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    165: You may not be realising it but you are actually selling Obama quite well ;-) You're selling decency over people acting like wild animals, which seems good to me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    I'm English and I'd support an orange juice can over Obama. So needless to say, I support Romney too. Obama is incredibly destructive for America because his ideology is based on the morality of collectivist-altruism, which is a moral code that is incompatible with unalienable individual rights, with capitalism, with a free market, and with the rule of law (not of men). His ideology is unAmerican.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    "Rat Romney represents the last of the WASP"

    Mr. Romney can hardly represent Protestants of whatever color since he is a Mormon.

    Just as Harry Reid, a US Senate Mojority leader and a Democrat.

    "why are Armament manufacturers in business if it is not profitable?"

    Because so many countries buy American arms considering them superior. [even Iran tries to obtain them:illegally]

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    $6 billion is expected to be spent in this years presidential campaign. Does anybody really believe that this money is donated out of kindness with no expectation of a return? The preservation of money and power is what it is all about and the US is the prime example of how democracy will evolve in all democratic countries eventually.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    157. englishvote
    You are right, there is an interesting headline on obesity, normally opened forthwith for debate on the beeb. But this time it is positive news for the overweight and the story has been relegated straight to the health page.

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    Seems to be a lot of dislike for Romney in this country even though nobody knows him here
    Nobody? Are you sure? Or is that just you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    157.englishvote - "......I shall have my moan, mainly because I fail to see what the US election campaign is doing as headline news on the BBC......"

    Do you really need telling? It is very, very simple.....

    Every household pays the license fee so the Beeb pump out content for everyone, including for the thousands, if not million+ who are interested in US politics......

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    149. "US's credit rating has been already downgraded and unless Tea Party supporters exert more pressure - it'll be downgraded again increasing deficit even more."

    You know that the report on the downgrade cited the Republican Party as a major reason for it because they refuse to raise revenue, right? It makes sense. You wouldn't lend to someone with no source of income, would you?

  • rate this

    Comment number 158.


    Save your breath, in electing Obama in 2008, the Democrats played the race card, and like the schmucks that they are, Americans fell for it.

    O-baaaaaa-ma, o-Baaaaa-ma! There there, good little sheeple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.


    yes the HYS boards do seem to be dominated by one political class, with obviously not a lot of work to do on a Wednesday morning!

    I shall have my moan, mainly because I fail to see what the US election campaign is doing as headline news on the BBC.

    BBC journalists need to have a good look at themselves and decide whether they just intend to go along with the pack

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    Whoever wins as US President has about 2 years to do anything before the electorate, in their eternal wisdom, shackle his freedom of movement by voting one or both houses of Congress to the opposite party. Arguing that a president (where R or D) failed to deliver when the founding fathers ensured that he cannot do anything without the support of Congress which can change mid term is disingenuous.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.

    Americsn values have changed since 50s.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    Obama broke all his campaign promises yet no corporate media will ever hold him accountable. The Obamb Deception explains all if enough people learn of this maybe the rest of the world will wake up as to how they are being lied to 24/7

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    150. Loony rich kid? I hope the Americans see reason and don't continue this road of loony leftism. Once again, the left proves it ruins economies and national harmony. Obama out!


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