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 192.

    @173 Fishermans_Enemy

    You're "at a loss" because you've (sadly) bought into this depraved idea that man has no right to live for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him and his property for whatever it deems to be for its own collective good.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    Re-elect Obama ,to do what ?
    he certainly doesn't appear to have done anything of merit in his term as president of America,
    I suspect if he is re-elected he will weaken Americas place in the world order and cause the country to fall deeper into recession ,
    I am glad he isn't our prime minister or we would really be up the creek without a paddle

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Great stuff a lovely lady but how I detest the use of wives and family as a tool in elections. If the wife of a politician wants to be involved in elections it should be as a candidate. Hilary Clinton I'm glad to say did this and was a success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    You're right-can't complain about communism and not capitalism. No matter the ideal you believe in, greedy people get power, that power corrupts.

    Consitution was to ensure that STATES, not central government held the balance of power, and this was done because the founding fathers saw that centralised domination of power was a threat to liberty.

    Guess what? They were right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    We must all see are the recent changes in the world today how the world's economy has been affected, countries credits being downgraded; so as we can all see Obama had a positive vision to turn things round but there is so much one can do in one term so I think Obama deserves a second chance.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    which is a moral code that is incompatible with unalienable individual rights, with capitalism, with a free market"

    Bush bailing out the banks and Detroit was hardly free market capitalism, now was it?

    "and with the rule of law (not of men)."

    The rule of law IS the rule of men as the only laws are those made by humans. The US constitution was written by men.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    No mention by Michelle of her husband's blatant lie(s) regarding his promise of immeadiately closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison if he was elected. Or any mention either of her husband's ordering of more Drone attacks , than any other President has done so far, that have killed hundreds and hundreds of innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan , then? No I didn't think so.! .

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    @122 "Things are relatively stable now, but you cant take that for granted. I dont think im the only one who remembers GW Bush's lack of diplomacy. "

    Relatively stable? Worse economic crisis ever, the middle east are killing each other for supposed democracy, Europe is struggling to contain right wing nut jobs.

    Stable? What planet are you on?

  • rate this

    Comment number 184.

    Obama and Romney both support the NDAA, big government, both owned by corporate fat cats, both hate the constitution, Obama has a kill list, both are warmongers and final point, I hate them both! JILL STEIN 2012

  • rate this

    Comment number 183.

    It would be better for the poor and the not-so-poor in America if Obama were to win a second election, a choice between Obama and Romney may be a choice between the right and the extreme right, but at least they would feel the benefits of having some healthcare, with Romney all they'l get is another war.

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    "BUT I do know he [Obama] hasnt started any wars so thats got to be a good thing. "

    First hundred plus Tomahawks [cruise missiles] were fired at Libya from US ships and subs on the direct order of pres. Obama. Thus initiating US military involvement in the internal conflict in Libya.

    [which so far hasn't resulted in anything positive]

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    171.farkyss - the only people whoever talk about communism these days are lying right wingers trying to smear their opposition......

    .....there's as much truth in Obama/Labour et al being communist as there is in the equally ridiculous suggests that the left occasionally throws at the right claiming the Tories, for example, are facist.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    Obama has to come out fighting this time around and so does his party. They have to show America that this time around they will not allow the Republican party and their toxic form of politics, to control what goes on. American politics needs a real big shake up and let's all hope that Obama is ready to that control!

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    4 Minutes ago
    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

    The Republicans are all about individual rights as long it does not includ a womens right to chose.

  • rate this

    Comment number 178.

    Obama has pumped a lot of money into the U.S economy to try and generate growth, which has been created, but is slowing through 2012.
    Although the economy is a huge issue in the U.S, other issues need to be considered like homosexual rights, abortion laws etc.
    What woman or homosexual would vote for the social conservatism of the Republicans?

  • Comment number 177.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    153. Is that so, in the UK the "left" were kicked out in favour of the "right" and we have an economic crisis, in American the "right" were kicked out in favour of the "left"... Same result. Like so many others, I get sick of hearing one side blaming the other without an alternative. Personally, it's the Obama ideal that inspires me, not the bigoted elitist view from Romney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    160. Little_Old_Me

    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......

    -- --
    and every country outside the UK has the white blank space to your right filled with adverts. The beeb do seem to have things sewn up,

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    Obama inherited the poisoned chalice of two terms of a Republican President. Two major overseas wars and a collapsed corrupt investment banking system that still costs $billions to the American economy.

    Do the Americans really believe Obama could right those disasters in one term? Vote for android Romney and see a repeat of bad history unfold and even more jobs moved off-shore.

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    @165 im at a complete loss to your comment. What you appear to be suggesting as negative is actually what id actively seem in government, yet you would rather vote orange juice over this?


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