Michelle woos the voters Hillary needs to win

It was unthinkable eight years ago – Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama hugging on stage, heaping praise on each other and their commitment to public service, women and children.

Rewind to 2008 and the now Democratic nominee was locked in a bitter Primary battle with Michelle Obama’s husband. The now first lady then took a not-so subtle dig at Mrs Clinton, telling voters that “if you can’t run your own house, you certainly can’t run the White House”.

But the prospect of a Trump presidency has pushed them into an unlikely political allegiance. Michelle said it herself – she’s blazing an unprecedented trail for a First Lady, hitting the campaign trail hard.

She’s wary of the political spotlight but she’s stepped into the breach, trying to protect her husband’s legacy whilst attempting to convince America that his one-time opponent is now her “girl”.


The First Lady and former First Lady appear on stage together for the first time
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Mrs Obama supports Clinton and splits voters

It’s usually the candidate that’s the headline act at this stage. But the campaign knows Michelle Obama is the one with the star power. And it’s her they call the ‘closer’.

She is a potent political force. A powerful orator with an ability to connect with her audience and draw the voters Clinton has struggled with – women, African Americans and the young.

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I ask people in the crowd if they had the choice, which woman would they rather see in the Oval Office. There’s a nervous giggle from many (perhaps they want to show solidarity), but the vast majority pick Michelle.

That’s not an option, of-course. In an unusual step, the White House has stated she has no aspirations to get the top job. But she has the potential to help Hillary smash that ultimate glass ceiling.

The former Secretary of State was quick to concede with humour, that Michelle has what she lacks – an ability to dance, to sing Carpool Karaoke. It is of course far more and she made clear that Michelle had faced far more hurdles as an African American woman in her role than she did.

A comedian I met this week in Charlotte, an avid supporter of Hillary, told me: “She’s like the girl who tries to take cookies into school to make friends. She’s just not cool. She needs to embrace the nerd.”

But the woman with arguably more ‘cool’ than the White House has ever seen, tried to focus on what they share – a vision for the future and a past.

She did admit  Hillary is a “policy wonk” – who could deny it? She knows Hillary may not be the woman America would chose, but in that hall, she made a lot of people feel more comfortable and even excited about backing her.

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