First Lady Michelle Obama came to Bethlehem Thursday night and delivered a fiery speech aimed at inspiring the 2,400 in attendance to get at least one more person to the polls in November to help re-elect her husband.
“Barack has said this election will be even closer than the last one. This election could come to those last few thousand votes, particularly in this state,” she told the standing-room-only crowd gathered at in the Johnston Hall gym.
“When you think of a few thousand votes spread out across the state, that could be the one new voter that you register, that one neighbor you get to the polls. That could be the difference. That could be the one that puts us over the top,” she continued.
The first lady campaigned in three eastern Pennsylvania spots – l – to advance her “It Takes One” initiative to grow the grassroots effort to get President Obama re-elected.
The event had the feel of a pep rally inside the college gymnasium, with the enthusiasm building with each successive speaker. , calling on them to work hard over the next 88 days to get President Obama re-elected.
A campaign video was then shown detailing some of the president's achievements. The biggest applause was given to the president's health care reform law, which Republicans aim to repeal, and the killing of terrorist
The crowd roared when the first lady stepped out from behind a giant American flag behind the stage where Yvonne Allende of Latinos for Obama introduced her.
In a 40-minute speech, Obama said the very future of middle-class families is at stake in this election.
“This is really about our values. We are doing this because of the vision for this country that we all share,” she said.
“We believe that everyone in America should have a fair shot. That means all of our kids should have good schools. All of our kids should be able to attend college without piling up a mountain of debt. Teachers and firefighters shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.
“We believe that if you work hard, you shouldn’t go bankrupt if someone gets sick.”
She said that she and her husband both understand what it means to struggle. Her father worked as a pump operator for a city water system.
“What my parents did have was the drive and the ability to save,” she said. “They poured every ounce of themselves into myself and my brother so that we could do well. Education was everything to our family. It was our ticket to the middle class.”
And while Pell Grants and student loans paid for most of their tuition, her father “was determined” to pay his small share on time, she said.
As the son of a single mother, the president shares a similar story, she said.
“Barack knows what it means to be in the struggle. He knows what it means to work hard because you want to give a better life to your kids,” Obama said.
“And when you walk through that door of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. That’s what’s at stake in this election.”
Check back on Patch for more photos of the Michelle Obama campaign stop in Bethlehem.