Voters React to Michelle Obama's 'Personal,' 'Real' Speech

Yahoo Contributor Network
First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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First Lady Michelle Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Yahoo! News asked voters to share their reactions to Michelle Obama's address at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday. In their own words, here are perspectives from voters across the nation.

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Michelle Obama addressed a crowd that looked like the America I remember and the United States I want to live in, and she reminded us that she and her husband are real people, real people who had real dreams and real debt, real love and real obstacles. Yet there she stood, a role model, a mother, a wife, and our First Lady.

Though we've been told incessantly that the message of "Change" is tattered, worn, that it's something we should discard as idealistic and naive, Obama reminded us that change does not come easily. It does not come without sacrifice.

It does not come without challenge.

"So today," she said, "when the challenges we face start to seem overwhelming -- or even impossible -- let us never forget that doing the impossible is the history of this nation."

And once again, I felt a seedling take hold.

-- Isa-Lee Wolf

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Resplendent in rose-petal pink, Michelle Obama fired up the crowd with an impassioned, powerful speech at the Democratic National Party Convention's opening night. Her non-partisan tone both expressed her family's foundational principles, as well as her belief in Barack Obama's vision of hard work, unconditional love and belief in the American Dream.

As a teacher and mother, I found her remarks deeply resonated with me. I also believe that how hard you work means much more than how much you make, and that living with unconditional love for your children, honesty, integrity, decency, humility and living by valuing everyone's contribution and treating everyone with respect will make our country an even better place for our children and grandchildren.

-- Jennifer Wolfe

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Michelle Obama effectively delivered a speech that was not only formulaic, but also attempted to advance a philosophy that many Americans outside the convention hall find pernicious.

She praised ordinary Americans she has met in her career as a political wife -- but all of them, from teachers to first responders to even people in the military, were employees of the government. Not one from the private sector.

When she delved into the political, defending her husband the president as well as her husband the man, she fell just a little flat. In Michelle Obama's world view, all good things flow from government and all good things in government flow from President Obama. The crowd in the hall ate it up; it was served up with passion and finesse. But one suspects that the TV audience may have been a little skeptical.

-- Mark Whittington

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Michelle Obama's message was personal: Her experience and Barack Obama's experience is that of the American dream. We lived it, we understand it, and we are it. Her message was a mix of personal and policy -- how America should treat everyone, no matter your color, your finances, your sex, or who you love.

And she was passionate. Michelle Obama said, "I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are. No, it reveals who you are."

Obama gave a very good speech. She connected with me as a woman and a mother. It was a big speech and extremely well-done. Period.

-- Laurie Jo Miller Farr

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Evidently, I am supposed to be impressed by Barack Obama's rusty car and poverty. It would seem I ought to feel some sort of kinship toward Mrs. Obama because her family had to take out loans to pay for her college tuition. It would seem that she is endeavoring to identify with me, specifically, as a middle-class woman, in her DNC speech.

Well, call me crazy, but I don't. I don't identify with Michelle Obama because I don't want to be picked up in a rusty car. I want to drive my own car, and I would prefer it be a nice one. I also don't think we ought to be encouraging all young people to take out student loans that will hang over their heads for a good portion of their adult life. Not all children want to go to college.

-- Kathleen Ann

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The genius of her speech was that it was not overly partisan, and it truly came from the heart. She also did something incredibly important: She humanized Barack Obama and brought him down to earth for everyone for and against him to see. The way Michelle sees it, being president hasn't changed who Barack is but has instead revealed who he is, a man who is out to unite and not divide like many have accused him of doing.

Michelle's speech was also a stirring reminder of how change is never easy and is accomplished over a long period of time. Many felt there was a lack of enthusiasm coming into the Democratic National Convention this evening, but the First Lady among other speakers gave rousing speeches that reminded voters that what they fought for in 2008 is still worth fighting for this November. 

-- Ben Kenber

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As a first-generation college graduate struggling to make payments on my student loans, I felt Michelle Obama's speech was extremely inspiring.

She mentioned in her presentation that the presidency does not change people; instead it reveals who they are. I completely agree because President Obama has not forgotten his lower-income background -- because he lowered the percentage rate on student loans. I was already leaning toward voting for the Obama-Biden ticket, but Michelle's speech clenched that decision for me, reminding me that Obama continues to help the middle class and that someone like me, who comes from a lower-income background, can still be very successful.

-- Elizabeth Dorssom

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Even the president would have found it difficult to follow Julián Castro's speech, but First Lady Michelle Obama seemed to have pulled it off. She spoke about her travels across the country during the first few years in office. She mentioned the soldiers, business owners and regular people she met along the way.

She touched on many points to portray herself as an ordinary citizen, including her family's struggles to overcome poverty. She said she still has concerns about how another four years would affect her daughters. She succeeded in representing herself as a regular person.

If I had any doubts about Obama's sincerity, her speech would take them away.

-- David Garrett Jr.

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Michelle Obama told anecdotes showing President Obama's personal side. "His prized possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster." She spoke specifically about President Obama when he was still a senator. She told of the values instilled in her as a child -- working hard to earn what you want out of life.

Ultimately, I must say, I was just as bored sitting through this speech as it seemed the convention-goers were. Even though there probably is not a better advocate for Barack Obama than Michelle Obama, I must admit I was not too moved by her personal accounts and insight in the Obama campaign. I was not inspired, after hearing this speech, to give President Obama my vote this November.

-- D. Emile Delaney

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