MANCHESTER, NH, Aug. 2 — Michelle Obama told Granite Staters that her husband Barack has their back. Speaking to an enthusiastic crowd estimated at Southern New Hampshire University, the First Lady said, “Like me and so many of you, Barack knows the American dream because he’s lived it.”
Her declaration was greeted with great cheers.
The heat in the SNHU Field House was stifling. Many attendees fanned themselves with cardboard OBAMA-BIDEN posters, but their spirits didn’t waver.
Michelle was on time and in a fighting mood, which was appropriate as she spoke under the school’s championship banners. The team has been to the Division II basketball Final Four twice.
The First Lady’s podium sported a placard with the word FORWARD. She shouted out, “We need to keep moving forward. Forward! Forward!” as she rallied the faithful.
Up Close & Personal
Getting intimate, she said, “As First Lady, you’re up close and personal” seeing what the presidency is like. The president has to make all the tough decisions. Never mentioning Mitt Romney by name, she hammered him nonetheless when she reminded the rally attendees that they knew her husband.
“All the president has to guide you is principles and vision,” she said. “It all boils down to who you are and what you stand for.
“We all know who my husband is. We all know what Barack Obama stands for. And we know how hard he’s ready to fight for us.”
The theme of her “It Takes One” campaign tour is for Obama supporters to reach out to one more voter, to recruit one more volunteer. Saying the November election would be very close, she underscored the need to work hard to maximize the turnout for the president. To recruit new supporters, she said they needed to inform them about her husband’s values, his vision for America and of all that he’s accomplished.
When it came to the auto industry, she claimed, “He had the backs of American workers and he put his faith in America.” As for Obamacare, “Barack had the backs of American families.” He created jobs and put money in people’s pockets.
It was time to stand up for the middle class, she said, “And you know what my husband’s going to do: Protect our most basic rights.”
Peggy Hornung, 41, of Peterborough, found Michelle Obama to be “inspiring.”
“She stated her husband’s case very well.”
Hornung, an independent who had voted for Jon Huntsman in the Republican primary, said, “Too bad Obama’s surrogate can state his case better than he can.”
Retired firefighter Raymond Filibert said he felt at home at the rally as it was a diverse crowd.
The Field House was filled with people of all ages, and there were many people of color. Disabled people sat in the roped off VIP section while Jackie Cilley and Maggie Hassan, two former state senators vying for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, stood among the crowd.
“These people are people I can relate to,” Filibert said. Having attended a Mitt Romney rally, he claimed that Republican events, “Attract the 1 percent.”
“It drove me crazy in the 1980s,” Filibert continued, “when working people supported Ronald Reagan. Don’t you want the president to be someone who makes your life better?”
Michelle Obama made people think, Amherst resident Harry Hamblin, 54, believes. “Romney can’t relate to any of this,” he said. “And people are blinded by him.”
Describing himself as “slightly upper-middle class,” the Massachusetts-born and raised Hamblin said, “After four years of Romney, my life won’t be better. With Obama, we have a chance.”