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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

US Wildlife Service Begins Probe of Killing of Cecil the Lion

Minnesota man accused of killing beast is in hiding, has been asked to contact US officials; White House to review extradition petition More

Video Kerry Five-Nation Tour to Cover Security, Iran Nuclear Deal

Secretary of state will visit Egypt, Qatar, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam to discuss security issues, Iran nuclear deal, Trans-Pacific Partnership 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs