First lady Michelle Obama brought her husband’s campaign to the Bull City, drawing cheers from supporters waving posters with the slogan “Forward.”
Obama visited North Carolina Central University in order to urge the audience to line up at the polls for President Barack Obama to secure his spot in the White House. She emphasized that students who are currently not registered need to make sure they do so in order to continue their support for the president. More than 3,000 supporters and students attended the event.
“[The election] could mean just one vote in your neighborhood—just one more person,” she said. “One single vote in your apartment building, in your dorm room—one. Keep that in your head.”
Obama reflected on her modest childhood, when her father worked at the city water plant. She said her upbringing encouraged her to succeed and prosper in order to have a brighter future.
“[My parents] believed that when you’ve worked hard and you’ve walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you,” she said. “You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.”
In her speech, Obama attempted to shore up support for her husband and emphasized her belief that the president was the best man for the job. It was his character, demeanor and open heart that demonstrated his aptitude for presidency, she said.
She also noted that when the economy was on the brink of collapse at the start of Obama’s presidency, it made him vulnerable to criticism from the media. But instead of taking the criticism to heart, he “got to work” fixing America’s economic situation, adding that Obama was working for ordinary Americans . Michelle Obama also noted that while the Republicans have focused on Obama’s failures, he has successfully cut taxes for the middle class.
“He cut taxes for small businesses and working families because he believes teachers and firefighters should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires. Not in America,” she said.
Throughout her speech, Obama interacted with the audience. When a man exclaimed that he loved her, she responded with “I love you too, sweetie.” The exchange reflected support for the first lady, who garnered 65 percent favorability in a recent Gallup poll. In contrast, the president ranks at 53 percent.
“Michelle is more favorable than her husband,” Star Battle, an NCCU law student, said. “She’s the goodwill ambassador for the country [and] channels the idea of hope and prosperity for the country.”
Andrew Hanson, a Vietnam War veteran, said the first lady’s role is to show that the president is relatable.
“Michelle represents the family as a whole. She’s honest, supportive, and straightforward—I trust her,” he said.
Duke senior Laura Neubauer said she would vote for Michelle Obama for president if she were running.
Rep. David Price, D-N.C., noted Obama’s strides in forwarding positive legislation, despite the hindrances he faced on his road to change. He said Obama’s policies have focused on education reform by lowering the cost of college tuition and eliminating billions in subsidies.
The president’s passage of the G.I. bill not only enabled access to an education but also ensured that they were not forgotten, Price added—noting that the Obamas’ humble beginnings, particularly their struggle with paying student loans, makes them relatable to the average American.
“This is a personal issue for President Obama and Michelle, they worked hard for years to pay off those loans,” he said. “They are going to help make the college tuition under control.”