Michelle Obama rallies Utah voters

By By Carlos Mayorga

By Carlos Mayorga

One day before the Utah primary, hundreds of supporters welcomed Michelle Obama, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s wife, for a last-minute campaign rally at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

Michelle Obama came in place of Barack Obama after he cancelled his scheduled Salt Lake City visit last week out of respect for the funeral of the former president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Gordon B. Hinckley.

Despite Barack Obama’s absence, supporters greeted Michelle Obama with loud chants of “Yes, we can,” and held up signs of support for the campaign.

“You’re going to make me cry before I even get started,” Obama said, thanking the crowd for the gesture and campaign volunteers for their work.

She urged supporters to back her husband in a “critical” election to help improve public education, health care, and international policies.

“Barack gets it,” Michelle Obama said. “He understands that our greatest challenge is not that we are suffering from a lack of resources but that we are suffering from a deficit of policy and plans. This is our greatest challenge — right here, right now.”

Michelle Obama said that working-class families are finding that the “cost of living outpaces salaries” and warned that Americans must not continue to push the issue aside.

“Folks don’t ask for much,” she said. “They want to know that if they work hard each day, they can provide for their families. They want to know that when they retire, they can do so in respect and dignity.”

Obama said that she and her husband come from working-class families and have “Midwest” values like many Americans. She said millions of parents in this country are trying to provide for their families but are coming up short.

“(Barack) can build bridges across party lines and get things done,” Michelle Obama said. “We need to have a mutual understanding of each other. We have to be able to understand that our struggles are common.”

In recent years, the administration has caused divisions in America, and, as a result, people have become “cynical” of their government, she said.

“We were fearful and angry as a nation, and our leadership played on those fears,” Michelle Obama said. “Our troops are struggling over there, and our leadership has told us to keep shopping.”

Michelle Obama ended the hour-long rally with more chants of “Yes, we can,” and hugged and greeted supporters before heading for another campaign rally in Tucson, Ariz.

Tyler Riedesel, a senior in international studies, said Barack Obama stands out as a candidate because of his humble beginnings and community work.

“He doesn’t come from a rich, elite, upper-class family,” Riedesel said. “He knows what it’s like to be poor, and because he has that exposure, he knows how to make real change.”

Bukhosi Dube, a fourth-year medical student, said he supports Obama because he is impressed with his ability to reach out to young voters.

“His message to the younger crowd is, ‘You can make a difference, too,'” Dube said.

Dube, who is also a fan of Bill and Hillary Clinton, said after reading Obama’s books and attending a recent Obama campaign rally in South Carolina, he has decided to back Obama.

“I felt more in line with Obama’s policies,” Dube said.

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