Monday, September 19, 2016

Michelle Obama Hits The Campaign Trail For Hillary Clinton

(This image of Michelle Obama speaking in Fairfax, Virginia is from

Last Friday, Michelle Obama made it clear who she wants to be our next president. She made her first campaign appearance for Hillary Clinton in Fairfax, Virginia, and gave a wonderful speech. Here is much of that speech:

Now, let me say, it is so hard to believe that it is less than two months to Election Day, and that my family is almost at the end of our time in the White House.

But let me just tell you, this time is really bittersweet for me.  It’s a time of real transition for me and Barack and our girls.  My husband is going to need a new job.  (Laughter.)  I'm going to have to find a job.  We're going to be moving to a new home, so we'll have to pack.  We got to get the old house cleaned up so we can get our security deposit back.  (Laughter.)    
But in all seriousness, this isn’t just a time of transition for my family -- but for our entire country -- as we decide who our next President will be.  And transitions like this can be difficult.  They involve a lot of uncertainty.  And we saw that in 2008 when Barack was first elected.   
Back then, people had all kinds of questions about what kind of President Barack would be.  Things like, does he really understand us?  Will he protect us?  And then, of course, there were those who questioned -- and continued to question for the past eight years, up through this very day -- whether my husband was even born in this country.
Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he’s set -- by going high when they go low.  And he’s answered these questions with the progress that we’ve achieved together, progress like bringing health care to 20 million people.   Creating 15 million private sector jobs.  Helping millions of young people, like all of you, afford college.  Expanding LGBT rights and marriage equality, marriage equality is now the law of the land.  
And we just learned that, last year, the typical household income rose by $2,800 -- (applause) -- which, by the way, is the largest one-year jump on record.  And 3.5 million people were lifted out of poverty.  That’s the biggest one-year decrease in poverty in nearly 50 years.
But even after all this progress, it’s understandable that folks are feeling a little uncertain as we face the next transition.  So the question is, for all of you and all of us, for the nation, is:  How do we sort through all the negativity and the name-calling in this election, and choose the right person to lead our country forward?
Well, as someone who’s seen the presidency up close and personal, here’s what I’ve learned about this job.  First and foremost, this job is hard.  Okay?  This is the highest-stakes, most 24/7 job you can possibly imagine.  The issues that cross a President’s desk are never easy, none of them.  They're never black and white.  
I mean, just think about the crises this President has faced these last eight years.  In his first term alone, Barack had to rescue our economy from the worst crisis since the Great Depression.  He had to make the call to take out Osama bin Laden.  He had to work to stop millions of gallons of oil that were gushing into our Gulf Coast.  He had to respond to devastating natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy and so much more.
So when it comes to the qualifications we should demand in a President -- to start with, we need someone who is going to take this job seriously; someone who will study and prepare so that they understand the issues better than anyone else on their team.  And we need someone not with good judgement, but with superb judgment in their own right.  Because a President can hire the best advisors on Earth, but let me tell you, five advisors will give five different opinions.  And the President, and the President alone, is always the one to make the final call.  Believe me.
We also need someone who is steady and measured, because when you're making life or death, war or peace decisions, a President can’t just pop off.  Finally, we need someone who’s compassionate, who’s unifying force, someone who will be a role model for our kids; someone who’s not just in this for themselves, but for the good of this country.  See, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, the presidency doesn’t change who you are -- it reveals who you are.  And the same thing is true of a presidential campaign.  
So if a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fear and lies on the trail, if a candidate has no clear plans to implement their goals, if they disrespect their fellow citizens, including folks who have made extraordinary sacrifices for our country -- let me tell you, that is who they are.  That is the kind of President they will be.  Trust me, a candidate is not going to suddenly change once they get into office.  Just the opposite, in fact.  Because the minute that individual takes that oath, they are under the hottest, harshest light there is, and there is no way to hide who they really are.  
And at that point, it’s too late.  They’re the leader of the world’s largest economy, the Commander-in-Chief of the most powerful military force on Earth.  With every word they utter, they can start wars, crash markets, change the course of this planet.  
So who in this election is truly ready for this job?  Who do we pick?  Well, for me, I'm just saying -- it is excruciatingly clear that there is only one person in this election we can trust with those responsibilities, only one person with the qualifications and the temperament for that job.  And that is our friend, Hillary Clinton. 
We know that Hillary is the right person because we’ve seen her character and commitment -- not just on the trail, but over the course of her entire life.  We’ve seen her dedication to public service; how after law school, she chose to be an advocate for kids with disabilities.  She fought for children’s health care as First Lady, for quality childcare as a Senator.
And when she didn’t win the presidency in 2008, she didn’t throw in the towel.  She once again answered the call to serve, keeping us safe as our Secretary of State.  And let me tell you, Hillary has the resilience that it takes to do this job.  See, because when she gets knocked down, she doesn’t complain or cry foul.  No, she gets right back up, and she comes back stronger for the people who need her the most.
And here is what is also true -- and I want you all to think about this.  Hillary is one of the few people on this entire planet -- and clearly the only person in this race -- who has any idea what this job entails, who has seen it from every angle.  Hear me:  the staggering stakes, the brutal hours, the overwhelming stresses.  And here's the thing -- she still wants to take it on.  See, because she believes that she has an obligation to use her talents to help as many people as possible.  That is why she’s running.  
Now, let me tell you, that is what dedication looks like.  That is what love of country looks like.  So when I hear folks saying they don’t feel inspired in this election -- well, let me tell you, I disagree.  I am inspired.  Because for eight years, I have had the privilege to see what it takes to actually do this job.
And here’s what I absolutely know for sure -- listen to this:  Right now, we have an opportunity to elect one of the most qualified people who has ever endeavored to become president.  Hillary has been a lawyer, a law professor, First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, a U.S. Senator, Secretary of State.  Do you hear me?  
See, that’s why I’m inspired by Hillary.  I’m inspired by her persistence and her consistency, by her heart and her guts.  And I’m inspired by her lifelong record of public service.  No one in our lifetime has ever had as much experience and exposure to the presidency -- not Barack; not Bill -- as he would say, nobody.  And, yes, happens to be a woman.  
So we cannot afford to squander this opportunity, particularly given the alternative.  Because here is what we know -- that being President isn’t anything like reality TV.  It’s not about sending insulting tweets or making fiery speeches.  It’s about whether or not the candidate can handle the awesome responsibility of leading this country.
I urge you, I beg of you to ignore the chatter and the noise and ask yourselves:  Which candidate really has the experience, the maturity, and the demeanor to handle the job I described to you?  Which candidate’s words and actions speak to the future we want for our country and the values we share -- values like inclusion and opportunity, service and sacrifice for others?
Your answers to these questions on Election Day will determine who sits in the Oval Office after Barack Obama. . . .
On November 8th, you will decide whether we have a president who believes in science and will fight climate change -- or not. You will decide whether we have a president who will honor our proud history as a nation of immigrants -- or not.  You will decide whether we have a president who thinks that women deserve the right to make their own choices about their bodies and their health -- or not.  
And here's the thing.  At a time when incomes are rising by thousands of dollars, when millions of people are being lifted out of poverty, ask yourselves:  Is now really the time to fundamentally change direction when we’re making so much progress? . . .
Folks in this country are working long hours to send their kids to college just like my mom and dad did for me.  They’re helping raise their grandkids just like Barack’s grandparents did for him.  They’re teaching their kids the exact same values that Barack and I are trying to teach our girls: that you work hard for what you want in life and you don’t take shortcuts; that you treat people with respect, even if they look or think differently from you; that when someone is struggling, you don’t turn away, and you certainly don’t take advantage.  No, you imagine walking a mile in their shoes and you do what you can to help, because that’s what we do in America.
We live in a country where a girl like me, from the South Side of Chicago, whose great great grandfather was a slave, can go to some of the finest universities on Earth.  We live in a country where a biracial kid from Hawaii named Barack Obama -- the son of a single mother -- can become president.  A country that has always been a beacon for people who have come to our shores and poured their hopes and their prayers, and their backbreaking hard work into making this country what it is today.  That is what makes America great.  Don't ever forget it.  
And here's the thing.  I know in my heart that we deserve a president who can see those truths in us, a president who believes that each of us is part of the American story and we're always stronger together.  We deserve a president who can bring out what is best in us -- our kindness and decency, our courage and determination, so we can keep perfecting our union and passing down those blessings of liberty to our children. 
Let me tell you this.  I have never been more confident that Hillary Clinton will be that president.  So here's what I'm pledging.  From now until November, I'm going to work as hard as I can to make sure that Hillary and Tim Kaine win this election.  I need your help to do that, as well.  Are you with me? 

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