Second lady Jill Biden visited Cary Saturday to discuss women’s issues and campaign for President Barack Obama.
Second lady Jill Biden visited Cary Saturday to discuss women’s issues and campaign for President Barack Obama.

Women’s rights will be a major factor in this year’s presidential election, second lady Jill Biden said at the first stop of her North Carolina campaign tour.

President Barack Obama’s health care reform—on top of additional successes of his administration—will be a deciding factor for female voters in the upcoming election, Biden said, speaking to a crowd of more than 200 people at the Obama for America office in Cary Saturday. Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, continued her day-long visit to North Carolina with rallies in Greensboro and Charlotte.

“This election is about people’s lives, especially women’s,” Biden said. “I see a lot of women in this crowd. [Obama and Joe Biden] are fighting for the rights of women every day.”

Additionally, Biden emphasized some of the Obama campaign’s hallmark policies, such as reforming student loans and working towards universal health care. She also spoke about some of Obama’s past achievements in office, including 31 consecutive months of job growth and ending the Iraq War.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, one of the first pieces of legislation that Obama signed while in office, is an example of his dedication towards women, Biden noted. The legislation protects against paycheck discrimination. She said Obama and Joe Biden’s devotion to women’s rights is part of who they are.

Of all registered voters in 2008, 54 percent were women, and 55 percent of those who voted were women, said N.C. General Assembly member Jennifer Weiss, D-Wake County.

“Talk to the women in your lives, especially young women,” Biden said to the crowd as they cheered and waved blue campaign signs. “Ask who they can trust to protect the rights of women and our freedom.”

In tune with Obama’s campaign slogan—“Forward”—Biden said voters should re-elect the current administration so future generations will not have to fight for women’s issues that were controversial in the 1960s and 1970s, such as contraception and abortion rights.

Some local spectators, such as Vietnam War veteran John Kuruc—attended the event to show support for the campaign. Kuruc recently decided to support Obama due to opponent Mitt Romney’s recent comment that 47 percent of Americans do not pay taxes.

“I wasn’t going to come today, but I came because I really think there’s a potential for Romney starting another war in the Middle East, and that concerns me,” Kuruc said. “I’m a disabled vet. I get benefits, and I think Romney is going to take a lot of that away.”

Biden also addressed American defense strategy, speaking from her experience as a military mom. Biden’s son, Beau Biden, served in Iraq from 2008 to 2009.

“We need to take care of our troops not just with words but with real actions,” she said.

She encouraged audience members to cast their ballots early to maximize support for the president and her husband. Early voting begins in North Carolina Oct. 18, and Election Day is Nov. 6. Although regular voter registration closed Oct. 12, people can register and vote at the same time at one-stop early voting locations from Oct. 18 through Nov. 3.

“If you vote early, you can get others to go out and vote early. Make phone calls and get everyone to the polls,” Biden said. “It’s not just the two of them moving this country forward­—it’s all of you.”

Cameron French, N.C. press secretary for Obama for America, described the importance of holding such a modest event. French gestured toward some attendees who had lingered after the event to sign up to volunteer and discuss the speech with others.

“Having [Biden] here creates a very important community for us,” he said.