Johnston Hall at Moravian College was the scene for First Lady Michelle Obama’s third and final stop in the state yesterday in Bethlehem, PA.
Her message to the crowd of 2,400? It takes one.
As a part of the Obama campaign’s “It Takes One” initiative, the Mrs. Obama reminded the crowd of the positives thus far in President Obama’s first term in office, urging grassroots action such as helping people register others to vote and spreading word of the positives her husband has done for this country.
“We’re not just here because we want to win an election, which we do and we will. What I try to remind people is that we’re here, we’re making these sacrifices, we’re making these investments because of the values we believe in. This is really about our values. We’re doing this because of a vision for this country that we all share,” said Obama.
She rattled off the list of accomplishments during her husband’s first term. Topics discussed included economic growth, the end of the war in Iraq, the death of Osama Bin Laden and immigration reform.
Each accomplishment was presented with enthusiasm and received with roaring applause. However, no issue was met with as much enthusiasm and applause as when the First Lady touched on education and health care.
But jobs was the subject of a statement released in response to Mrs. Obama’s visit. Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Rob Gleason spoke that morning about the Philadelphia stop, saying that this served as a reminder of President Obama’s failed policies.
“The unemployment rate has now been above 8 percent for 42 straight months. Friday’s jobs report illustrates how Obama has failed to fix the economy and meet his own standards,” Gleason said.
“He promised his massive $831 billion stimulus would create millions of jobs and bring unemployment down to around 5.5 percent by today. Most staggering of all, the real unemployment rate is 15 percent. That means that 15 percent of Americans either can’t find a job, full-time work or have given up even trying to find a job. That is this President’s legacy and the reason he will lose Pennsylvania this fall.”
But Mrs. Obama was not deterred by any negativity surrounding her campaign stops. In Bethlehem, she spoke of her humble beginnings, both before and after she married Mr. Obama. She said it was her parents devotion to her’s and her brother’s education that instilled the values that she has today.
“My parents had the ability and drive and desire to save. They sacrificed, they poured every ounce of themselves into me and my brother. That’s what we saw. They wanted us to have the kind of education that they could only dream of. Education was everything in my family. It was our ticket to the middle class,” she said.
Obama also applauded her husband’s efforts to make paying for college easier on students and their families.
“When it comes to student debt – trust me, my husband and I have been there. That’s why Barack doubled funding for pell grants, and thats why he fought so hard to stop student loan interest rates from rising. Because he wants every young person to be able to get the education they need for the jobs they deserve,” said Mrs. Obama.
On the President’s healthcare reform, Mrs. Obama stressed that the health of families is at risk this election.
“Over the past century, so many of our presidents have tried and failed to meet the challenge of health reform. But your president was determined,” said Mrs. Obama.
“Your President was driven by the stories or the people he met. You know these people. The grandparents who couldn’t afford their medicine, the families going broke because a child got sick, the woman dying of cancer because her insurance wouldn’t cover her care. That’s what kept him going day after day.”