Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Barack Obama Counts On "The Closer" (with video)

CBS, with video (02:03):
For a supposedly reluctant campaigner, Michelle Obama is a natural. In big stadiums or small rooms, she has set aside any qualms she may have had and jumped into the fray with an appeal that is heavy on education, on health care, on the family, on her husband and on her own audacity of hope.
"As a black girl from the South Side of Chicago, I am not supposed to be here," she tells one group.

"We need some change in this country, don't we?" she tells another crowd.

Mrs. Obama can talk issues -- and couples that with some world-class hugging skills. The reception for a woman who may become the nation's first Black first lady has been so positive, for the most part, that it's made her self-conscious, reports CBS News Correspondent Dean Reynolds.

"Barack is the candidate, I'm just hanging out," she says.

Well, she's not just "hanging out." Michelle Obama is a vital component of her husband's campaign. For starters, as a woman she can appeal to the foundation of Hillary Clinton's support.

But she is also working on African-Americans who are standing on the sidelines because they doubt Obama can win -- afraid of being disappointed and waiting to see how largely white Iowa and New Hampshire respond.

"I understand it. I do. I know where it comes from, this sense of doubt and fear about what the future holds," she says.

Mrs. Obama's emotional speech about growing up black -- being told you were not good enough is up on the Web and on DVDs that have been distributed in heavily black neighborhoods. This is especially so in South Carolina, where black support in the Jan. 26 primary could be decisive.

"We're gonna have to dig deep in our souls -- dig deep -- confront our own self-doubt and recognize that truly our destiny is in our hands," Mrs. Obama says.

Back in Iowa, the Obama campaign says if Michelle could meet every voter personally, the race wouldn't be close.

"Can you see why?" a white female voter in Iowa is asked.

"I can definitely see why. Yeah. She did it for me today, so yeah," the voter replies

And that's why they call her ... The Closer.

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