Saturday, October 06, 2007

"Mrs. Obama drums up local support"

Nashua Telegraph (NH):
On his neighbor's lawn, Kanti Patel stood in line three different times to shake hands with Michelle Obama.

Darting through the group of supporters standing in a semi-circle, Patel approached her the second time with a Reader's Digest in hand. Inside was a story about Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama.

Patel asked Michelle Obama if she would be kind enough to write a note to her husband next to his picture.

"I love you! Be strong," it said.
In between greeting Patel, Michelle Obama posed for photos, shared hugs and talked a bit of politics Friday afternoon with other guests at the house party.

It was a juggling act not unlike the one she had described moments earlier in a speech from the front porch of Sharon and Jerry Spivak's home.

In her second New Hampshire appearance of the day, Michelle Obama told the crowd of mostly women she would try to introduce them to "the real Obamas. Not the resume Obamas."

A typical day of campaigning A typical day of campaigning for her means waking up around 5:30 a.m., trying to look her best, and getting the kids up and ready for school before catching a flight, she said. After a full day, she's back in time to put the girls to bed.

"Even though we're running for president, I'm thinking about, 'What are we doing for Halloween costumes?'" Obama said.

But it's the kids who inspire her to keep her focused on what's possible, she said. The senator's wife said she thinks about the world she wants to hand to them, and it's not the world we're living in today.

Michelle Obama defended her husband against claims he is inexperienced. Barack Obama has worked on the ground as a community organizer in a rough neighborhood. He's worked as a civil rights attorney, she said.

He's one of many lawyers in the race, but the only one who's an expert in constitutional law and the only one to be named president of the Harvard Law Review, Michelle Obama said.

"He can build bridges with people, even if he doesn't agree with them . . . The only thing Barack doesn't have is years of experience in Washington."

"There's something so non-politician about him it scares people."

Michelle Obama also talked big change for America.

It's getting harder to achieve the simple dream of earning a decent wage, raising kids, buying a home and getting by, she said. There are burdens like student loan debt and health-care costs, Obama said.

Small change isn't going to be enough to fix those problems, she said.

Obama emphasized returning to a united country – something party host Sharon Spivak said attracted her to the campaign in the first place.

Spivak said she always considered herself a political cynic, choosing between the lesser of two evils in every election, until hearing Barack Obama speak.

"It's not a passion for politics at all. Just the opposite." Spivak said of her decision to volunteer for a campaign for the first time this year. "It's him."

Ann McLane Kuster, co-chairman of New Hampshire Women for Obama, said she appreciates that Barack and Michelle Obama seem like very grounded people who understand the everyday lives of Americans.

"She knows what our lives are really like," she said of Michelle Obama.

Patel said he thought the senator's wife was a good speaker, but added it's not easy to decide on a candidate based on one engagement. He's just listening to the candidates at this point and won't settle on one until the end, Patel said.

"When you go to vote, see how your heart is pumping and press that button," he said.

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