In Tally, First Lady Michelle Obama To Young People: Talk Up Barack

Sep 17, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to a sold-out crowd of the president’s supporters at the Leon County Civic Center on Monday night. The first lady urged those at the rally to get their friends to register and vote, in what could be a very close presidential race in Florida.

Katina Boyd, of Quincy, was one of thousands of the president’s supporters who came to the campaign event in Tallahassee.

“I’m fired up and ready to go. Obama, baby!” she said after the rally.

In what’s shaping up to be a close presidential election, Florida is one of a handful of key states that could swing either way. Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, campaigned in Florida last week.

Michelle Obama says supporters can’t rest until after the election.

"And, folks here in Florida, you all know a little something about close elections, don’t you?" she said. "But I also want to put this in perspective. Think back to what happened in this state in 2008. Back then, Barack won Florida by 236,000 votes.”

She says, that margin might sound like a lot, but it breaks down to just 36 votes per precinct in the state. And she calls for young Florida voters, who were critical to the president's 2008 campaign, to once again help spread the word this time around.

“So we need you to talk to everyone you know," she said. "Everybody--your friends, your neighbors, that cousin you haven’t seen in a while--that student sitting next to you in that class, who you know isn’t registered. You know that student, right? You know that person."

The first lady said, in three and a half years, President Obama’s policies have created millions of jobs, overhauled health care, ended the Iraq war and made college more affordable. But she said, there’s still a lot more work to be done that will take longer than four years.

Tallahassee resident Rhea Lathan was among those cheering loudly during the speech. She says she thinks the Obamas really understand the struggles of people like her.

“And especially what they’re doing for the queer community, for gay rights, that I don’t have to hide who I love," Lathan said.

President Obama helped repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in the U.S. military and came out in full support of gay marriage this year.

Another supporter at the rally, Andrew Graff, of Tallahassee, says he feels energized to talk about what the President has done since 2008.

“Health care reform and then the DREAM Act, and then the job recovery. And, there’s a lot of things," he said.

Polls of likely voters show President Obama with a slight lead over his challenger, Romney.