Michelle Obama, Our First Lady

by: Blaine Skrainka

September 4, 2012

Barack Obama, the legendary speaker that captivated a nation fours years ago, is as it turns out, the second best orator in the family. Tonight, our First Lady killed it. Michelle Obama just gave perhaps the best speech that you will see during the 2012 elections.

Michelle Obama at the Democratic National Convention
Jae C. Hong/AP

Mrs. Obama, simply put, looked stunning as she approached the podium, and without doubt grabbed our collective attention.  The speech began with nostalgic stories of picking yourself up by the bootstraps — besting the odds and achieving the American dream. This is a theme we hear all the time ad nauseam from politicians, especially during this year’s conventions. Maybe I am biased (I am biased), but this one felt different:

You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn’t have much in the way of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable – their unconditional love, their unflinching sacrifice, and the chance to go places they had never imagined for themselves.

Maybe it felt different because Barack Obama’s story is different. He was a mixed-race kid raised by a single-mother. Obama actually did build his career from the ground up, free from political patronage.  

On the surface, Mrs. Obama’s task was simple: appeal to the softer side of the American voter. Like Ann Romney, First Lady Obama set out to show voters what she sees in her significant other. Her speech though was also politically deft. And this is where she outflanked Ann Romney. You see, unlike Mitt Romney, Barack Obama already has high personal favorability ratings, but swing voters tend to be weary of his policy direction.  Perhaps with that in mind, Michelle Obama seamlessly connected the man, her husband, Barack Obama, to the legislative goals of the Obama administration, “For Barack, these issues aren’t political – they’re personal.”

She goes on:

Well, 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.

You see, I’ve gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks like.

And I’ve seen how the issues that come across a President’s desk are always the hard ones – the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer…the judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin for error.

Mrs. Obama went on to touch on substantive policy achievements by the Obama administration including signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, supporting and promoting reproductive rights for women, implementing near-universal health care, and keeping interest rates down on federal student loans. Delightfully, she discussed these issues without slinging any political mud — she avoided mentioning Mitt Romney altogether.

First Lady Obama then circled back and knocked it out of the park:

When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago.

As Mrs. Obama’s speech came to a close, the energy in the convention center radiated through televisions screens across America (selective shots of teary-eyed delegates and supporters helped). Mashable reports that Michelle Obama “drove 28,003 tweets-per-minute at its peak, nearly double the 14,289 mark reached by Mitt Romney‘s acceptance speech at the Republican convention last week.”

Michelle Obama walked off the stage to a mix of Beyonce and thunderous applause, metaphorically droppin’ the mic and literally making Team Romney sweat.

Obama family watches Mom at the DNC
The Obama family watches Mom on TV from back at the White House

Watch the full speech here.

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