News / USA

Michelle Obama Campaigns for Democrats in US Midterm Elections

First lady Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event for Sen. Russ Feingold  in Milwaukee, 13 Oct 2010
First lady Michelle Obama speaks at a campaign event for Sen. Russ Feingold in Milwaukee, 13 Oct 2010

As the U.S. midterm congressional elections grow nearer, President Barack Obama's wife, Michelle, is playing an increasingly important role campaigning for Democrats seeking to hold on to their seats in Congress.   Appearances by the first lady across the country are aimed at helping to re-energize enthusiasm among Democrats, particularly women and youth voters, before Americans go to the polls on November 2.

Though Democrats and the White house have drawn some encouragement from what appears to have been a slight narrowing in key election races, they still face the prospect of losing control of at least one chamber of Congress on November 2.

A recent Reuters/Ipsos survey found that Americans would vote for Republicans rather than Democrats by 48 to 44 percent.  That supports a scenario in which Republicans would win control of the House of Representatives.  In some key Senate races, Democrat's chances have improved, reducing the threat of a Republican takeover of the Senate.

President Obama also faces continuing generally high disapproval numbers nationally, focused on his handling of the economy.  Polls reflect concern voter concern about the 9.6 percent unemployment rate, and pessimism about the general direction of the country.

Into this picture steps First Lady Michelle Obama, making her first campaign appearances in two years.  She is being deployed to key states where Democrats face tight contests.   The first was in Wisconsin, to help Democrat Senator Russ Feingold hold on to his U.S. Senate seat.

"I think about how we all felt on [President Obama's] inauguration day," said Michelle Obama. "We were excited, we were energized, we were hopeful, we were fired up because we knew we had a chance to change the country we loved for the better."

Feingold asserted that he had pulled ahead in his race with Ron Johnson, a Republican businessman supported by the conservative Tea Party movement, though some polls show Johnson retaining a slight lead.

"As of this moment, I am no longer behind," exclaimed Russ Feingold. "I am no longer behind!   And I can tell you that as of this moment, I am actually beating Ron Johnson, with the voters most likely to vote!"

It remains to be seen how Michelle Obama's appearance will help Feingold and other Democrats.  She later went to Chicago, home town for the Obamas, to campaign for Alexi Giannoulias who is competing against a Republican for the president's former U.S. Senate seat.  

"He [President Obama] needs leaders like Alexi, right by his side," said Ms. Obama. "And we need folks like all of you to make that happen. "

Michelle Obama also went to Colorado on Thursday, and will be on the road again in coming days. An appearance with the president on Sunday at a Democratic event in Columbus, Ohio, will be the first time the two will campaign together since 2008, when Mr. Obama battled Republican John McCain for the presidency.

The White House calls the first lady an invaluable asset.  But aides emphasize she will not be wading deeply into the political thickets or get involved in day-to-day rhetorical battles with Republicans.  

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs says she will employ her own personal story in her campaign appearances, and her sense of where Americans find themselves at this point.

"As she told during the 2008 election, she has got a story to tell about herself and her family and I think she will tell that story and what the [Obama] administration and some of these [Democratic] candidates have been able to do to help families that they represent," said Gibbs.

That approach, in which she incorporates Obama family experiences with the political message her husband and Democrats are trying to convey before November 2, was on display in Wisconsin.

Calling herself a "mom-in-chief" she connected what she called her first priority - making sure that the Obama's two daughters are "happy, healthy, and adjusting" to life in the White House - with challenges facing other American families.

"I come to this stuff [politics] more as a mom," she said. "And when I think about the issues that are facing our nation, I think about what it means for my girls.  I think about what it means for the world that we are going to leave behind for them, and quite frankly for all of our children.

In campaign stops, the first lady refers to her husband by his first name, Barack, and echoes the president when she tells audiences that despite steps he has taken to respond to recession, economic improvements have been slow and "change is hard."  

The 2008 campaign, Michelle Obama told voters in Wisconsin, was never about putting one man in the White House, but about "building a movement for change that lasts beyond one year and one campaign.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid