Michelle Obama at the University of Florida

First— best perk of having media credentials? No long lines and a great view! After going to classes that started at 7:25 in the morning (the horror!) and then going to work for 4.5 hours, it was awesome to be able to just waltz into the venue after a quick pat down a little before 3:00. Moving on.

Attending the political rally featuring Michelle Obama was an amazing experience. That can’t really come as a surprise, huh? I loved the opportunity to cover the appearance of such an inspirational woman.

In 2008, her visit to Gainesville was the biggest draw of people she ever had campaigning alone and on Monday, over 10,000 showed up to the O’Connell Center— beating her previous record. UF loves us some Michelle.

Chomp, chomp.

People lined up in the wee hours of the morning to catch a glimpse of our dear FLOTUS and to hear what she had to say.

And she had things to say.

I love how the First Lady is able to convey such passion through her words— and the way she elicits that same emotion from others. Her speech was a continuation of what she discussed at the Democratic National Convention a few weeks ago. In fact, earlier in the campaign trail she stopped in Virginia and basically relayed the same message.

In the middle of something very inspiring.

Here a few of her comments:

  • [President Obama] was handsome, still is. He was charming, talented and smart.  But that’s not why I married him. What truly made me fall in love with Barack Obama was his character -– his decency, his honesty, his compassion and conviction.
  • For years, folks had been lured into buying homes they couldn’t afford, and their mortgages were underwater Banks weren’t lending. Companies weren’t hiring. The auto industry was in crisis. The economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. And a lot of folks wondered whether we were headed for another Great Depression. This is what faced Barack Obama on day one as President.
  • But instead of pointing fingers or placing blame, Barack got to work because he was thinking about folks like my Dad and like his grandmother. See, and that’s why he cracked down on lending abuses, so that today, when you apply for a mortgage or credit card, you know exactly what you’re getting into.
  • That’s why he cut taxes for small businesses and working families because he believes teachers and firefighters shouldn’t pay higher tax rates than millionaires and billionaires in America.
  • He got the auto industry back on its feet, and today, new cars are rolling off the line at proud American companies like GM. And, yes, while we still have a long way to go to rebuild our economy, we have had 30 straight months of private sector job growth -– a total of 4.6 million new jobs, good jobs right here in the United States of America.
  • In fact, as I shared, when we were first married our combined monthly student loan bills were actually higher than our mortgage. So when it comes to student debt, Barack and I, we’ve been there. And that’s why Barack doubled funding for Pell grants and fought so hard to keep interest rates down — because he wants every young person in this country to get an education without a mountain of debt. He wants all of our young people to have the skills they need for the jobs of the future — jobs you can raise a family on, jobs that will drive our economy for decades to come.
  • Because in the end, that’s what this is all about. That’s what elections are always about. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently — elections are always about hope. The hope I saw in my father’s beaming face as I crossed the stage to get my college diploma. The hope of Barack’s grandmother that she felt when she cast her ballot for the grandson she loved and raised. The hope of all those men and women who worked that extra shift, who saved and sacrificed and prayed so that we could have something more. The hope that so many of us have when we look into the eyes of our own children and grandchildren.

She mentioned that “instead of pointing fingers or placing blame, Barack got to work because he was thinking about folks like my Dad and like his grandmother.” This was the same strategy she chose to employ; she never mentioned Mitt Romney but by describing her and President Obama’s humble upbringings’ there was a (blaringly) silent comparison to the other candidate.

My super legit press badge/name tag conveniently complemented my outfit.

She did go “off script” at one point and told us to pretend she was our mother and to truly listen to her: vote.

I hope we all heard her.

____________

Want some more FLOTUS action? Check out our Youtube channel for a few clips of the event and our Facebook page for more pictures!

All images in this post (minus the one of me) are courtesy of the Gainesville Sun.

rawr, Maritza

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