Michelle Obama—or ‘The Closer’ as she is known these days to her husband and his campaign team—sought to live up to her nickname with the people of Plymouth this evening.
Speaking at a well-attended meeting in the Obama campaign’s local office—organizers estimated attendance in this small town at around 200—she tried to defuse the idea that her husband lacked adequate toughness for the rigors of campaigning or governing.
Baldly asserting that “Barack is not naïve,” Obama drew attention to her husband’s stint as a minority member of the Illinois State Senate.
Referring repeatedly to “tough Illinois politics,” she told the crowd that when people suggested the senator may be too soft, “I just think, ‘C’mon people, where do you think we have been?'”
Also ostensibly talking about Illinois politics, Obama said, of her husband’s encounters with unnamed entrenched interests, “When power meets change, they will say anything.”
The relevance of that remark to the current campaign was unlikely to have been lost on anyone in the audience.
Though Obama’s speaking style is generally more conversational than that of her husband, she has her own loftier, more rhetorically aspirational moments.
“We need a different leadership because our souls are broken. We need to be inspired…to make the sacrifices that are needed to push us to a different place,” she said.
And, toward the climax of her speech, she said, “Dreaming does count. You need to dream to realize your possibilities.”
She did address some more granular political topics—such as the way to replicate in this state the massive voter turnout that propelled her husband to victory in Iowa three days ago.
She said, “We were proud of what Iowa did. Those numbers doubled. Those people felt that power.”
And, to laughter, she told the crowd to “drag about eight people with you” when each of them went to vote. “Kick ’em out of bed,” she implored.
Holding out the vision of her husband eventually being elected president, she said, “Just imagine the image that will be sent all over the world. There is no other candidate in this race who could send that image. You know it in your hearts.”