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First Lady: The president is just like you

First Lady Michelle Obama walks on stage to speak to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

First Lady Michelle Obama walks on stage to speak to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michelle Obama's message: President Barack Obama is just like you.

"Barack knows the American Dream because he's lived it," the first lady told the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday in an address intended to reassure voters that her husband share their values — hard work, perseverance and optimism — while also drawing a contrast between him and Mitt Romney.

Mrs. Obama never mentioned the president's Republican challenger, who grew up in a world of privilege and wealth.

But the point was clear as she weaved a tapestry of their early years together, when money was tight and times were tough, when they were "so in love, and so in debt." She reminisced about the man who now occupies the Oval Office pulling his favorite coffee table out of the trash and wearing dress shoes that were a size too small. And she told stories about a president who still takes time to eat dinner with his daughters nearly every night, answering their questions about the news and strategizing about middle-school friendships.

With a mix of personal anecdotes and policy talk, Mrs. Obama's speech was by far her most political yet.

"Today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are — it reveals who you are," she said.

To that send, the first lady painted a portrait of a leader who knows first-hand the struggles of everyday Americans, who listens to them as president, and who pushes an agenda with their interests in mind.

"That's the man I see in those quiet moments late at night, hunched over his desk, poring over the letters people have sent him," she said. "I see the concern in his eyes ... and I hear the determination in his voice as he tells me, 'You won't believe what these folks are going through, Michelle . it's not right. We've got to keep working to fix this. We've got so much more to do.""

She added: "I see how that's what drives Barack Obama every single day."

With such stories, the first lady sought to counter Republicans trying to paint Obama as something other than a typical American, and implied that it was Romney who couldn't relate to people trying to get by in tough economic times.

To be sure, neither Romney nor Obama fits the bill of the average, working-class American struggling with credit card debt and mortgage payments. Both are millionaires who live a privileged life few Americans will ever experience.

But each candidate is trying to convince Americans that they're best-suited to run an economy hampered by sluggish growth and high unemployment. Polls show Romney leading on who voters say would best to manage the economy, but Obama with the advantage on who voters believe understands their economic challenges better.

As she stood in the center of the convention's blue-carpeted stage, Mrs. Obama's words went straight to the core of the contrast Democrats are trying to draw between Obama and Romney. They say the president is pushing policies to boost the middle class, while Romney wants to protect the wealthy and hope their success trickles down.

Once a reluctant political spouse, Mrs. Obama delved more deeply into the details of her husband's policies than she has in her previous speeches. She promoted his health care overhaul, push for tax cuts for middle income earners and the auto bailout. And she took on the economy, her husband's biggest political liability, arguing that he "brought our economy back from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again."

"In the end, for Barack, these issues aren't political. They're personal," she said.

The president watched Mrs. Obama's speech from the White House along with the couple's two young daughters.

"I'm going to try to not let them see their daddy cry because when Michelle starts talking, I start getting all misty," Obama said at rally earlier Tuesday in Norfolk, Va.

Mrs. Obama will likely have one more turn in the convention spotlight later this week. She is expected to introduce her husband Thursday night when he accepts the Democratic nomination before a crowd of up to 74,000 and a television audience of millions across the country.

The Obamas' daughters, Malia and Sasha, are also expected to join them on stage during the convention's closing night, leaving voters with fresh images of the photogenic family.

While at the three-day convention, Mrs. Obama will also focus on shoring up support for her husband among key constituencies. She plans to speak to the party's African-American, Hispanic and women's caucuses and address a gay and lesbian luncheon. Along with the vice president's wife, Jill Biden, the first lady will also participate in an armed services event Thursday and put together care packages for U.S. troops serving overseas.

The first lady took the stage Tuesday as the most popular figure in this year's presidential campaign. She earns higher favorability ratings than her husband, his Republican rival, the other contender for first lady, or either candidate for the vice presidency, according to the latest Associated Press-GfK poll.

In the poll, conducted before the Republican convention began, 64 percent of Americans said they had a favorable view of Mrs. Obama. President Obama came in at 53 percent favorable.

Comments

VSU 2 years ago

If the president shares our values and believes in hard work then take these people off of welfare and make them work.

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hotdog 2 years ago

Where would they work? Are you hiring ?

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VSU 2 years ago

Why don't you ask you boi Obama? According to Clinton's bogus tv commercials, Obama has this master plan to create millions of jobs, but first you have to re-elect him before he brings out his plan. Wait! Didn't he say on his first time running that he was going to create millions of jobs, so I guess the same people will fall in his trap again.

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waltspecht 2 years ago

Just like me? You mean he served his Country honorably as a member of the armed forces? Been paying into Social Security for 52 years? Been paying into Medicare since it started? Been employed in a full time job since he turned 16? Hasn't taken advantage of any Governmental Programs? Hasn't used illegal substances? Went to College on a full academic schlorship? No, he isn't any where just like me, not even close. As a matter of fact he is diometrically opposite of me and my beliefs.

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hotdog 2 years ago

Neither is the GOP candidate like you either if that is the case....so who will you vote for

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Shinedownfan 2 years ago

Just like me? NOT! I just happen to love my country...

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waltspecht 2 years ago

I'm voting not so much for Romney as against the one I feel is a Socialist, who doesn't have my Country's best interest at heart. To the best of my knowledge, Romney never sent a form letter to the Family of a SEAL killed in action as Obama did. That also doesn't set well with me in particular.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

As opposed to a personally drafted and signed letter of appreciation to a thug rap "singer."

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VSU 2 years ago

We have to vote for the less of two evils.

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MisterEd 2 years ago

I'm a narcissistic windbag? I never would have guessed it. I'm glad Manchelle helped me figure that out.

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GG126 2 years ago

Who is Manchelle? Are you referring to the First Lady of the United States? What does 'MrsEd' have to say about your disrepect?

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nofreeloader 2 years ago

Great comment walt, !!! He isn't like most common folk that are working hard to reach the American dream. Which is becoming a nightmare to obtain.

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hotdog 2 years ago

Did you see the people at the DNC? It was a more realistic picture of what today's America looks like, people of many hues social class not just white males like the RNC.....

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VSU 2 years ago

You're right, all those people looked like they were on welfare.

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Somebody 2 years ago

So only white males at the RNC? but a mixture of colors at the DNC...what that tells me is that the blacks are showing their prejudices by sticking with their broski despite the fact that his intentions are (Not to rebuild this country from the ground up as stated by Bill Clinton) but rather to destroy this country from top to bottom.

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chinaberry25 2 years ago

No, he is not like most of America. He has never had a real job, and Michelle probably never had one either that did not have a US Treasury logo on the check. But personally, I would not want to vote for me as president, so if he is truly like me, then you do not have my vote. The most he is like me is that he does not go to church. And this is not a good thing.

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FryarTuk 2 years ago

Like Ann Romney Michelle Obama gave a very good speech. The unfortunate thing is we are stuck with their husbands.

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JBruce 2 years ago

Ms. Obama, Your husband may be just like some people but he is definitely not like me. First and foremost I am a God fearing Christian, I honor those in the military who fight for my freedom, I am against the killing of the unborn, I recognize Israel as God's chosen people, I love this country and it makes me sick what your husband is doing trying to make into a socialist handout Godless government controlled nation. So Ms. Obama, your husband is not just like me and I resent your insinuation that he is.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Let's get this straight, mindless morons. American demographics are: Wthite 62%, Hispanic 16%, African American 13%, Asian 5%, Other 4%.

The Republican Convention looked alot more like the American Demographics above, both in the crowd and on the podium, than the Democrat one. The Democrats FOCUS on the special interests of demographic minorities. Republicans are focused on the future of America for EVERYBODY.......

And for the record, His Royal Majesty Barack Obama looks alot more like Karl Marx than He does me.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

Shouldn't we also mention that Barack Obama is part of the 1-Percent? He's a multi-millionaire who has not ever had a job where he actually broke a sweat and did a day's work. And he gives only the bare minimum of his income to charity. Joe Biden even less. Oh yeah, He's just like you and me. What a crock.

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VSU 2 years ago

The Democrats criticized the Republicans for having their convention in Florida with Hurricane Issac, but they had to reschedule Obuma's speech to an indoor arena due to thunderstorms in the area, so does that make them any smarter for scheduling an outdoor event?

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USTPC 2 years ago

VSU, great point. Of course, most people will miss the point you are trying to make. The conventions were scheduled at least a year in advance and there is no way to tell what the weather would be like at the time of the convention. With all the preparation that has to go into these conventions it is illogical and short sighted to suggest they should be moved for weather or to criticize either party for not doing so.

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VSU 2 years ago

Exactly, my thought is Why criticize the other party if you are going to do the same thing? It goes back to that double standard thing. "It's okay for us, but don't you dare do it.

'

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USTPC 2 years ago

Just like me? Not hardly. I am not part of the 1%, I am not a socialist, I love America, I am not in favor of abortion except in rare cases of rape, incest or mother's health, I am not in favor of gay marriage, I did not agree with the healthcare bill, I believe in and support every aspect of the constitution and I am a Christian. Sounds to me like I am exactly the opposite of Obama.

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rightasrain 2 years ago

Hmmmmmmmmmmm..........I guess the "moderator" couldn't handle my truthful comment.....chicken of the sea moderator.

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ObjectiveEyes 2 years ago

Just like me? I don't think so. Both of the Obama's attended ritzy prep schools. They were both accepted to Ivy League schools despite undistinguished credentials (ok, I DID have undistinguished credentials myself). They both attended Harvard Law School. They wouldn't know a hard-days work if they saw it. Her speech last night was a fairy tale of "struggle." Fact check it for yourself.

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VietVet1 2 years ago

And Tryvon Martin is like a son!!!! This person isn't even close to being like a honest hardworking American. He's more like welfare and illegals.

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

In all honesty, I have come to the realization that Obama and I are in fact alike in ONE way. We both want MY MONEY.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years ago

Anyone else notice the irony at the Dem Convention?

They tell thousands of people they want them to come be involved and to be a part of the Party but when things look a little dicey (weather this time) they kick the masses back on the buses and just take care of their good buddies.

BTW I have always believed in GOD not just when I got caught trying to deny him. Smooth move guess if the Dumbs had not got caught we would all be issued pray rugs next!

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Sister_Ruby 2 years ago

I ventured to turn on the Democratic Convention this evening. They were playing Maryland Senator Mikulski. Scared the crap out of me. Immediate thought for a Convention Banner? "Battle Axes for Obama!" Drawn by pro's in red, white, and blue of course.

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