First lady Michelle Obama asked women on Monday to support Democrats in next month's midterm elections, urging them not to lose faith in her husband's vision for the country even if they are frustrated by the poor economy and slow pace of change he promised.
"I know that a lot of folks are still hurting. And I know for so many people, change has not come fast enough. Believe me, it hasn't come fast enough for Barack, either," the first lady told supporters at a fundraiser in New York for the Democratic National Committee and an affiliated group, the Women's Leadership Forum.
Mrs. Obama's appearance at that event, along with a private gathering hosted by fashion designer Donna Karan, helped raked in about $1 million for the DNC.
Earlier, Mrs. Obama campaigned in Connecticut for Democratic Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal, who's in a tight race with Republican former wrestling executive Linda McMahon to succeed the retiring Sen. Chris Dodd. She told a crowd of 800 supporters in Stamford that the president needed Democrats like Blumenthal in the Senate to help him fight for reform.
"Our campaign was never just about putting one man in the White House," Obama said of her husband's 2008 run for president. "It was always about building a movement for change millions of voices strong and a movement that lasts beyond one year and beyond one campaign."
In New York, the first lady appeared onstage at a Broadway theater with Vice President Joe Biden's wife, Jill, and actress Sarah Jessica Parker of "Sex and the City" fame. Mrs. Obama ticked off her husband's legislative accomplishments as president, including the controversial health care reform law that many lawmakers who voted in favor for it have been reluctant to embrace.
"Barack knows the heartbreak and frustration that our health insurance system has caused for far too many. That's why he refused to take the easy route and walk away from health insurance reform," she said.
Mrs. Obama also reminded the crowd that her husband had named two women to the U.S. Supreme Court and that the first piece of legislation he signed as president was the Lilly Ledbetter Act to help women achieve equal pay.
With Democrats facing potentially historic losses in both the House and Senate in November, Mrs. Obama joined the campaign trail last week after largely steering clear of political events as first lady. She's stumped for Democratic Senate candidates in Colorado, Illinois and Wisconsin and appeared with her husband at a rally in Columbus, Ohio, on Sunday.
"To tell the truth, this is not something I do very often. I haven't really been out on the trail since a little campaign you might remember a couple years ago. A tall, skinny guy with a funny name," Mrs. Obama said in New York.
Associated Press Writer Everton Bailey Jr. in Stamford, Conn. contributed to this report.
- To tell the truth
- First lady Michelle Obama
- Sen. Chris Dodd
- Linda McMahon
- Democratic National Committee
- fashion designer Donna Karan