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First Lady Urges Delegates To Round Up Voters


And after delivering a tribute to her husband on the opening night at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama yesterday by reaching out to groups of minority delegates there in Charlotte. NPR's David Welna reports.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Let's give a rousing welcome for the first lady, Michelle Obama.

DAVID WELNA, BYLINE: The African-American caucus was fired up yesterday when Mrs. Obama got there just hours after she brought down the house at the convention arena. She was still getting going.

MICHELLE OBAMA: I'm a little sleepy, but I am so thrilled to be here with all of you today this morning. Thank you so much.


WELNA: If the first lady's mission on day one was the make the case the President Obama's reelection to a national audience, on day two it was more about getting convention delegates charged up with indignation.

OBAMA: Do we want to give a few individuals a far bigger say in our democracy than anyone else? Do we want our elections to be about who buys the most ads on TV? Do we want our kids and our grandkids to walk away from this election feeling like ordinary hard-working voices can no longer be heard in this country?

WELNA: The way to fight back, Mrs. Obama said, was for delegates to step up their person-to-person ground game aimed at winning more votes for her husband.

OBAMA: Find your five votes, and then find five more and five more after that, and don't stop until the polls close on November the 6th, because what you do every day for the next 62 days will make the difference between waking up on November the 7th and asking yourself, could I have done more, or feeling the promise of four more years. You know?

WELNA: Mrs. Obama made much the same exhortation to the Hispanic and LGBT caucuses. At the gay activist gathering, Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin seemed to give her some credit for the president changing his stance on same-sex marriage.

CHAD GRIFFIN: When President Obama announced his support for marriage equality earlier this year, he suggested that it was conversations with those closest to him that moved him to take this historic step.

WELNA: And Mrs. Obama noted with approval the president's signing of hate crimes legislation and an end to the military "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The crowd was clearly happy how these issues, which had sometimes put gay rights advocates at odds with the White House, had ultimately been resolved. The first lady now had something to ask of this crowd, that they hit the pavement, phone lines and Internet, recruiting more voters and contributions for President Obama's re-election.

OBAMA: We need you out there every single day between now and November the 6th. I'm - you see my face? I'm serious.


OBAMA: My serious first lady face.



OBAMA: My mom face, that's right.


OBAMA: That's it. You heard me, Sasha.


OBAMA: Yeah. That's how it works.

WELNA: Count among this year's campaign moments that mom face. David Welna, NPR News, Charlotte. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Welna is NPR's national security correspondent.