Michelle Obama's roaring speech at the Democratic National Convention demonstrated how valuable an asset she was to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Stumping for the Democratic nominee in Philadelphia on Wednesday, as she wielded her political clout in front of an uproarious audience, it was clear just how crucial a role the first lady could play in this election.
In her nearly 30-minute speech, Obama presented a compelling argument for Clinton against her opponent — and just like her speech at the DNC, she did it all without mentioning Donald Trump by name.
She first touched on the birther conspiracy — a racist movement encouraged and perpetuated by Trump himself — with Obama saying, "There are those who questioned and continue to question for the past eight years whether my husband was even born in this country. And let me say: hurtful, deceitful questions deliberately designed to undermine his presidency. Questions that cannot be blamed on others or swept under the rug by an insincere sentence uttered at a press conference."
Obama then highlighted the distinct difference in how Clinton and Trump approached the job.
"Being president isn't anything like reality TV. It is not an apprenticeship. And it is not just about fiery speeches or insulting tweets. It's about whether someone can handle the awesome responsibility of leading this country," she said. "Ask yourselves which candidate really has the experience, the maturity, the temperament to handle this job. Which candidate's words and actions speak to the values we share."
While many bigwigs in the Democratic Party are traveling the country to campaign for the nominee — President Obama, Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren — the first lady could well be Clinton's most effective weapon yet. CNN cited polls in which her favorable rating was as high as 60 percent, making her Clinton's "most popular campaign surrogate."
That much was evident from the audience's reaction to her speech in Philadelphia. In making the case for Clinton, Obama drew on her own experiences in the White House as first lady.
"As someone who has seen the presidency up close and personal, let me share with you what I've learned about this job," Obama told the crowd. "First and foremost, this job is hard. It is the highest stakes, most 24/7 job you could possibly imagine."
We need someone who is steady and measured. Because when making life or death, war or peace decisions, a president just can't pop off or lash out irrationally. No — we need an adult in the White House. ... We need someone who is compassionate. Someone who'll be a role model for our kids. Someone who's not in this just for himself but for the good of the entire country. All of us.