Michelle Obama visits UCF

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Michelle Obama visits UCF

James Tutten / Valencia Voice

James Tutten / Valencia Voice

James Tutten / Valencia Voice

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In support of her husband’s campaign, Michelle Obama appeared at the University of Central Florida on Tuesday afternoon. The first lady, who currently has a higher approval rating than her husband, addressed grassroots supporters at The Venue in a hosting by the College Democrats.

Walking on stage, exclaiming, “Wow” and “Oh my gosh” in response to the roaring volume and numbers of the audience, Obama addressed the 2,251 person gathering, with many in attendance chanting, “Four more years!” in-between and during speeches.

“What’s import for all of you to understand, is that it’s all at stake in November,” she said. “Are we going to continue the change and progress we made, or are we going to let everything we fought for to just slip away?”

The College Democrats works in affiliation with Organizing for America, President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

The Venue featured promotional banners on the sides of the arena, with a large American flag adorning the background of the first lady.

Before Obama arrived, Lynnette Acosta, national co-chair for the Obama campaign, revved up the crowd with a speech about real-life people who have benefited from President Obama’s current term.

“No matter who you are, how much you make or where you come from,” Acosta said, “they know our struggles; they share our dreams; and their vision for a brighter future involves everyone.”

Retiree Joseph A. Washington Jr. led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Apostle Jeffrey Rivera, from Anointed Community of Restoration Church, held a prayer.

After giving thanks and recognitions toward those who helped set up the event, Obama explained that the hard work of those who volunteer and encourage people to vote are the “core” of the campaign, and that it’s not easy.

“Because of you, that’s how we did it four years ago, and that’s how we’ll do it again today,” she said.

Obama briefly told her own personal story about how her parents were blue-collar workers, and espoused the importance of education, which she described as the “pathway to the American dream.” She also mentioned her husband’s childhood; Barack grew up with a single mom and a grandmother who were both workers.

“No matter who you are, or how you started out,” she said. “If you work hard you can build a decent life for yourself, and an even better life for your kids.”

Obama hit issues such as student loans, admitting that she had taken out loans herself and had help from Pell Grants as well, making note that her husband has doubled Pell Grants, allowing millions of students to receive free financial aid for school.

The first lady asked supporters to tell others that President Obama cut taxes for small businesses 18 times, also stating that when he first went into office, the nation was losing an average of 750,000 jobs every month, and that for the past 28 straight months he obtained more than 4 million private sector jobs.

“Let people know today; millions of people are collecting paychecks again,” she said. “Millions of people, like my dad, are able to pay their bills again.”

The Affordable Care Act, recently upheld in the Supreme Court, was one of her main topics. Obama explained that millions of seniors can save hundreds of dollars on prescriptions and that children are now allowed to stay under their parents’ insurance until the age of 26.

Mentioning her and her husband’s life as an early couple, Obama admitted that their student loans were more than their mortgage. “How many people can relate to that?” she asked.

The first lady cited many other achievements, such as helping bring troops home from Iraq, who no longer have to lie “about who they are” to be able to work for the military, in regards to the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Also noted was the support President Obama has for the D.R.E.A.M. Act.

“It all boils down to who you are and what you stand for,” she said. “And we all know what Barack Obama stands for, don’t we?”

Appealing to women, Obama discussed that the president has made it easier for women to have equal pay for equal work, explaining that this was the first bill he had signed.

She then encouraged supporters to knock on doors, send emails and call people to vote and educate other voters on what President Obama has done in his first term, admitting from her perspective as the president’s wife the hardships and issues associated with his job.

“I have one last question,” she said as part of her final remarks. “Are you all in?”