Sunday 18 March 2018

Michelle Obama makes campaign trail debut for Clinton

Michelle Obama at a campaign rally in support of Hillary Clinton (AP)
Michelle Obama at a campaign rally in support of Hillary Clinton (AP)

Stepping deeper into the political fray, Michelle Obama on Friday warned young voters against being "tired or turned off" in the 2016 US election. She urged them to rally behind Hillary Clinton, "particularly given the alternative".

Mrs Obama is emerging as one of Hillary Clinton's most effective advocates, especially with voters who backed president Barack Obama but are less enthusiastic about his potential Democratic successor.

The Clinton team's biggest challenge regarding Mrs Obama is getting the reluctant campaigner to commit to more events.

Friday's rally in Virginia was Mrs Obama's first solo campaign event for Mrs Clinton and comes nearly two months after her star turn at the Democratic convention.

Speaking to mostly students at George Mason University, she repeatedly jabbed Trump without mentioning him by name, declaring that being president "isn't anything like reality TV".

The first lady pointedly called out those who continue to question the president's citizenship "up to this very day". Drawing on a frequently quoted line from her convention speech, Mrs Obama said her husband had responded to those questions by "going high when they go low".

Hours earlier, Trump stated for the first time that the president was born in the United States, though he did not apologise for devoting years to promoting false allegations that Obama was not an American citizen.

Beyond her ability to take on Trump with a smile, Mrs Obama's real value to Mrs Clinton is her wild popularity with Democratic voters, particularly young people and black people.

She vouched repeatedly for Clinton's experience and character, urging voters motivated by her husband's history-making campaigns to feel the same way about the first woman nominated for president by a major US party.

"When I hear folks saying that they don't feel inspired in this election, well let me tell you, I disagree - I am inspired," Mrs Obama said.


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