First lady to speak at ECU

Published 9:21 pm Monday, September 17, 2012


In a bid to rev up college-age voters, the first lady of the United States will speak at two North Carolina universities Wednesday: East Carolina University and North Carolina Central University in Durham.
According to the ECU website, first lady Michelle Obama will begin her address in the Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum at 5:45 p.m., tackling the subject of the stakes of the upcoming election and encouraging people in the audience to help organize their communities and promote voter registration.
Monday, hundreds of people lined up for the tickets given away at the Greenville and Rocky Mount offices of Organizing for America, the Obama campaign’s grassroots volunteer organization, and ECU’s Mendenhall Student Center.
However, some local Democrats were able to pick up their tickets to the event early, according to Ann Cherry, secretary of the Beaufort County Democratic Party. Through the 9-3-1 campaign pledge, volunteers who donated nine hours of time to the Obama campaign earned a ticket to President Barack Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. Because the outdoor speech was moved inside because of rain, volunteers who’d earlier earned the 9-3-1 credentials were given the opportunity to pick up tickets to Michelle Obama’s speech the day before they were offered to the public.
Cherry said the number of people in eastern North Carolina who’d earned those credentials, plus the fact North Carolina is a battleground state in this year’s presidential election, likely influenced the first lady’s decision to visit the region.
“I’m sure this won’t be the only time we get visits during the campaign,” Cherry said.
Because of security concerns, campaign appearances by the president and first lady are often announced only days in advance.
“We heard a rumor in the middle of last week, but we didn’t hear any specifics until the end of the week,” Cherry said.
Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Organizing for America’s Greenville office, 214 A E. Arlington St., Greenville.