First lady shares story with packed house

Published 8:57 pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama addressed a packed house at East Carolina University’s Williams Arena Wednesday. (WDN Photo/Mona Moore)

GREENVILLE – She shared her love story and East Carolina swooned.
First lady Michelle Obama told a packed audience at East Carolina University’s Williams Arena that her first impressions of Barack Obama were of a handsome man, but it was what was in his heart that made her fall for him.
“What truly made me fall in love with Barack Obama was … his passion and conviction. I loved that he was devoted to his family, especially the women in his life,” Obama said. “With Barack, I found a real connection because in his story, I saw my own.”
Obama spoke before a full arena of campaign volunteers and ECU students Wednesday evening. She said they had witnessed her husband’s values in the last three and a half years.
“We have seen his values at work. We’ve seen his vision… We’ve seen the depths of his courage and conviction,” she said. “And we both believe that when you work hard and do well… you don’t slam the door shut behind you. You reach back and pull others up.”
The audience cheered for “four more years” long before Obama took the stage. Chants of, “We did it once, we’ll do it again,” drowned out the music that echoed in Williams Arena.
But, the audience was at its loudest when, once on stage, Obama discussed the health care reform act that allowed students like those at ECU to remain on their parents’ health care.
Cheers erupted again when Obama listed accomplishments campaigners could tell the naysayers and ended the list with, “…Tell them how he ended the war in Iraq. Tell them Barack knows the American Dream because he’s lived it.”
Obama said when the president took office, newspapers were using words like “meltdown” and “calamity.” Those words have ceased.
She said his first bill signed was for equal pay for women. Obama also said the president had cut taxes for small businesses and working families. She championed his efforts to get the car industry back on its feet.
“For three and a half years, we have been moving forward. We have been making progress and we can see the changes,” Obama said. “Are we going to turn around, go back and watch everything we worked for slip away?”
The audience erupted once more.
Obama said every call made on the phone banks, every door knocked on and every new voter registered in North Carolina was critical to the campaign.
She reminded the audience that Barack Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes.
“That is just five votes per precinct. You hear me? Five,” she said.
The first lady made several stops on college campuses this week. She was at the University of Florida Tuesday and at Durham’s North Carolina Central University Wednesday afternoon.
Obama’s speech, which was meant to rally students and volunteers for the final weeks of the campaign ended with words of encouragement.
“From now until November 6, we need to keep working and striving because that is how change happens.”