Monday, November 20, 2017
Politics

First lady stumps for President Obama in Fla.

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With her husband tied up much of the week managing the response to Superstorm Sandy, first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Florida Thursday to speak to his supporters in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach and Miami.

She hammered at the importance of volunteers working to finish the final five days of the campaign strongly with ramped up get out the vote efforts.

In Miami, it was all about girl power. Obama spoke to a majority female, heavily Democratic crowd of about 4,000 people at the James L. Knight Center. She hit many of the same talking points as her speech at the Democratic National Convention, speaking about her husband's struggles, his respect for women and the important work he still had to accomplish in office.

"Just a few of you here could swing an entire precinct for Barack Obama," she told the crowd of supporters, who waved posters and occasionally interrupted her with chants of "four more years."

Grammy award-winning Latin singer Marc Anthony joined Obama in Daytona Beach and Miami, speaking before the first lady. Also teaming up with Obama and Anthony in Miami was Dwayne Wade's girlfriend, actress Gabrielle Union.

Earlier in the day, Wade was among the early voters in Miami.

The last person to introduce the first lady was Josefina Batista, 67, a team leader for West Miami with the Obama campaign.

Before the Knight Center crowd, Michelle Obama emphasize everything she said her husband had accomplished and seemed to gear her talk toward the women in the crowd.

She pointed out that President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and she said his healthcare reform would keep health insurance companies from charging women more than men.

"My husband will always have our backs," she said.

In Daytona Beach, she told the crowd inside a packed convention hall that their continued commitment down the stretch could again help turn the tide in a state that saw her husband win by about 236,000 votes in 2008. Obama said that margin averaged to 36 votes per precinct in Florida, and added that "this room alone could make the difference."

Singer Stevie Wonder warmed up the crowd of 4,000 supporters in downtown Jacksonville, the first stop on the Florida tour.

Early voting is under way across the state and the first lady spent each stop trying to firm up President Obama's message about what he believes is at stake for Florida voters going into next week's election.

The president canceled his appearance in Orlando on Monday as Sandy prepared to make landfall and has since been using surrogates, including President Bill Clinton, to keep a presence in a state that is expected to play a huge role in whether he wins a second term.

It's why the first lady spent the majority of her speeches urging supporters to use early voting and to implore their friends and neighbors to do the same. This week officials said 2 million Floridians and 20 million people nationwide had already voted early either in-person or by absentee ballot.

Associated Press writer Kyle Hightower contributed to this report.

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