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 332.

    I still don't know what POLICIES either candidate have. is there any difference between them?

    I've learnt this week that they both seem to be happily married...

  • rate this

    Comment number 331.

    Michelle reminded me why I am a Democrat - because our party is taking a stand to do what is right and necessary for the citizens of this great country, bringing everyone into the big tent. She made me so incredibly proud!

  • Comment number 330.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 329.

    TheState2011 (311),

    "... Why do you think Obama went back on EVERY election promise he made? ..."

    While President Obama my be currently behind in popular opinion,

    he did not break all his 2008 Campaign Promises.

  • rate this

    Comment number 328.

    The US has a choice between going back to Bush style economic madness with tax cuts for oil companies and billionaires that got the economy into the mess or voting the obstructionist GOP out and giving Obama the opportunity to fix the problems. Let's hope they do the right thing and vote Democrat all the way

  • rate this

    Comment number 327.

    Humility is her name. Her razor sharp intellect, sense of balance were evident. Here was the First Lady extolling the qualities of a great President who is seeking reelection. With her reassuring tone, she spelled out the reasons why Obama should be reelected. The audience reacted with a resounding chant 'four more years'..She certainly did her husband proud with her stirring, articulate speech.

  • rate this

    Comment number 326.

    The racist scroungers fear!! Economy could do much better in America but Romney's blond, fair, fat delegates would rather prefer American people to die than creating well paid jobs Yes, RACISTS you can fear every single moment for the rest of your life The new nations is that of ideas values friendship knowledge vs color hate anger superiority authority Who gave it to you? The world just goes on

  • rate this

    Comment number 325.

    Pragmatic rather than startling would probably sum up Obama first term. Despite several attempts to derail him, the birther lot, healthcare, etc. He has no skeletons in the cupboard, so he should not be troubled by special prosecutor as the Clintons were.
    Let’s hope his second term is more transformational.

  • rate this

    Comment number 324.

    Look up "American Elections: The Illusion of Choice?" and its accompanying video from CrisisHQ. American elections are a sham. Its more like a corporate dictatorship behind the scenes. Which puppet do they dislike the least? Two wings on the same old bird of prey.

  • rate this

    Comment number 323.

    I really couldn't care less who wins the election.

    Those expecting calamity if Romney wins; calm down. The men-in-suits who live in the vicinity of these Presidents ensure everything always stays the same. Obama failed even to close Camp X-Ray - a facility CREATED by Presidential diktat. Yet Romney seriously thinks he's going to balance the budget? To meaningfully limit Federal power? Please.

  • Comment number 322.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 321.

    ..Amazing, if you were to post a similar comment about the current UK government you'd get arrowed down..lot of lefties on this site.

    Yeah, that's because Labour's traitorous pursuit of neoliberalism is even more supported by the Tories. If the medicine is killing you you don't administer more.

    Although in my opinion America needs a greater lefty than Obama rather than another term.

  • rate this

    Comment number 320.


    The system itself works to prevent a third party or middle way from forming. Protocols, election rules, and media treatment will be scewed to prevent such a third party from ever getting a foothold. Eventually people will fall for the propanda and believe that a third party could never win, so will never vote for them.

    Same thing happened in the UK with Tories/Labour

  • rate this

    Comment number 319.

    Obama's hands have been tied the last 4 Years by the Republicans in the Senate. I really cannot figure how when the top 1% of Americans OWN 40% of everything and the bottom 40% own less than 0.3%! One can only hope that when it comes to paying back US debt, it is apportioned similarly, but I severely doubt it! 5 more years Barrack!

  • rate this

    Comment number 318.

    316. "Amazing, this gets positive feedback yet if you were to post a similar comment about the current UK government you'd get arrowed down..lot of lefties on this site."

    The reason being, the UK government has been promoting sweeping austerity measures that have worsened the economy they have inherited (as was widely predicted, btw); whereas Obama hasn't.

  • rate this

    Comment number 317.

    "The only thing stopping the dollar collapsing is the even bigger mess of the Euro".

    No, the sheer US economic power (forget military) aside, US$ cannot collapse for it is a sovereign currency and thus United States have full control over it (money supply, etc.).

    While many European countries don't have sovereign currencies anymore, with EU Commi-ssars and ECB imposing euro terms.

  • rate this

    Comment number 316.

    174.Obama inherited the poisoned chalice of two terms of a Republican President. Two major overseas wars and a collapsed corrupt banking system . Do the Americans really believe Obama could right those disasters in one term?.....Amazing, this gets positive feedback yet if you were to post a similar comment about the current UK government you'd get arrowed down..lot of lefties on this site.

  • rate this

    Comment number 315.

    Oh dear, reality TV doesn't get much more stomach turning than this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 314.

    281 Trout Mask Replica

    The problem with your idea is that there is no such thing as "society". There are only a number of individuals. To say that any individual is supported by society and therefore he owes society something in return, is to saddle him with an undefined and therefore unpayable debt. The amount cannot be tallied up, and so it permits you to subjectively seize whatever you want.

  • Comment number 313.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.


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