In Charlotte on Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama emphasized how competitive North Carolina has been in the last two presidential elections. She used that message to rally supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Three generations of the Carter family made the short trip to the Charlotte Convention Center.
“My daughter wanted to miss school just to see Michelle Obama,” said King Carter, the 31-year-old dad. His mom didn’t want to miss it either.
“It's just history, being able to see the first black first lady,” he continued.
Several people in the crowd said they get more excited to see Michelle Obama than anyone else in politics. You could hear it when she walked on stage.
Obama’s speech was all about turning that excitement into votes for Hillary Clinton. She pitched Clinton’s experience.
“Right now we have an opportunity to elect one of the most qualified people who has ever endeavored to become president,” she said.
She also talked about how Clinton’s policies line up with President Obama’s.
“You will decide whether we have a president who believes in science and will combat climate change, or not,” she said to applause.
And the first lady described how competitive North Carolina was in 2008.
“If just two or three voters per precinct had gone the other way or stayed at home, Barack would have lost this state,” she said. “But then let’s not forget what happened in 2012, Barack actually did lose this state by about 17 votes per precinct.”
Her numbers are off: the difference was actually about 5 votes per precinct in the win and about 34 in the loss. But in both, North Carolina was one of the most competitive states in the country. Polls show that trend continuing this year.
Her messages resonate with Carole Harris from Fort Mill, South Carolina.
“I believe probably the most important thing she can do is continue to emphasize the impact the outcome will have on Barack Obama's legacy,” Harris said.
Her daughter, Kim Weaver, added, “I think the importance is really helping with the younger generation, the millennials, and helping to get them inspired, helping to make them feel more comfortable with voting for Hillary and supporting Hillary.”
King Carter, the 31-year-old dad, agrees. He said it’s especially important for other African-Americans to see the first lady involved in the campaign.
“We look up to her because of her position,” he said. “It's important for her to just tell us who she endorses because we trust in her.”
Michelle Obama went to Raleigh for her next campaign stop.