Michelle Obama joins stump on behalf of Democratic hopefuls

October 14, 2010

michelle_2010First Lady Michelle Obama shook off the rust and hit the campaign trail – at least the campaign fundraising circuit – ahead of the November midterm elections.

Praising her husband’s accomplishments in just a year-and-a-half in office, she urged supporters to “have his back” by getting out the vote for fellow Democrats so he can pursue promised change with a friendly Congress.

Republicans are expected to make inroads in the November mid-term election.

“This is my first day out on the campaign trail. In fact, I haven’t been on the trail since a little campaign a couple of years ago,” Obama told a well-heeled crowd attending a $750-a-plate fundraiser for U.S. Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias.

She said she looked forward to voting early Thursday in her Chicago hometown, after a night’s rest “in my own bed.”

If she was out of practice after two years off the campaign trail, it didn’t show. While not rousing, the first lady delivered on familiar themes: the enduring struggles of American families to put food on the table, to get a good education for their children, to get health care.

She pledged support for military veterans — an issue she has adopted personally — but acknowledged it might take longer than one hoped to expand job opportunities in what has been an anemic economic recovery.

“For folks that are hurting, change hasn’t come fast enough,” she said. ”The truth is, it is going to take a lot longer to dig ourselves out of this hole … The truth is, this is the hard part. It is.”

“That’s what Barack told us. He said change is hard. Change is slow,” she said.

“From our first days as a nation, Americans always faced fear and doubt. But as Americans we have always gone past the cynicism and moved forward. That’s what we have to do now.”

“We have come way too far to turn back now.”

As she often did during the 2008 presidential campaign, she shared personal stories about her father’s struggles with multiple sclerosis. This time, she referred to how tired she gets as first lady, saying she urges herself on by recalling how her father pushed to get himself dressed and to work despite the pain brought on by his illness.

“He just kept on going. That’s what I think about,” she said.

“Something else I do on those tough days. I think about how we felt on election night. We were right here, right down the street,” she said, referring to the victory celebration attended by tens of thousands in nearby Grant Park.

We were excited, we were energized. Because we knew we had a chance to change the world for the better. The truth is, we still have that chance.”

“I told you you have to have my husband’s back,” she added. ”We need you to find those folks that are going to sit this one out … They can’t just vote once and wait for change. They have to vote every time.”

Photo Credit: REUTERS/John Gress (Illinois U.S. Senate candidate Alexi Giannoulias with Obama  at Chicago fundraiser)

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