Michelle Obama spoke at two colleges in North Carolina this week: North Carolina Central University and East Carolina University. Obviously trying to appeal to younger voters, the First Lady spoke very colloquially to the crowd of 6,000 today at ECU. She echoed many themes discussed in Charlotte a couple weeks ago, making points about healthcare, education, and women’s rights. Cheers rose from the crowd when she discussed the provision that allows children to stay on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. She also pointed out Obama’s work to keep interest rates down in financial aid for college and related her and her husband’s past struggles to pay their own student debt. Her call and response of “Forward!” resembled what can only be described as a pep rally.
Michelle Obama remarked upon her husband’s close win in 2008 in NC, even breaking down the 14,000 popular vote margin corresponded to 5 votes per precinct. She expertly wove this number into how vital it is to volunteer for their campaign. The First Lady emphasized how important it is to register to vote, even going so far as to encourage voting early (voting in NC begins October 18), eliciting laughter as she described how college students sometimes get days of the week mixed up.
The First Lady is no doubt chipping away at the Tar Heel State’s electorate, most likely influencing some new, young, swing voters in her audience with the energy and passion to volunteer for the Obama campaign.
Her humorous and enthusiastic speech for smaller, local crowds in the battleground state are quite a difference from Romney’s controversial 47% remarks in a recently leaked video.
Bringing out the loudest cheers of all, Michelle Obama ended her speech with rallying questions “Are you fired up? Are you ready to go? Alright then, let’s get to work.”
Time will tell if Obama’s campaign is doing enough to rally North Carolina’s younger demographic, but this is definitely a step in that direction.
Watch a video of the First Lady’s speech here.