ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports:
Hoping to awaken the youth vote that led in part to her husband’s presidential win, First Lady Michelle Obama today tried to appeal to those so-called apathetic young voters by telling them their midterm vote is as important as the those cast in 2008 for president.
“Don’t let frustration keep you from voting,” Mrs. Obama said, Because as we said it takes every single one of us. This election isn’t about Barack or one single party. It’s about all of us making a difference and voting, not just in a presidential election is an important part of that.”
On a conference call with “Organizing for America” members, DNC members and volunteers across the county hosted from the residence of the White House this afternoon Mrs. Obama said that as Democrats hit the pavement in the final 27 days before the midterm elections they need to tell people to not sit this one out.
“Remind people that change is difficult and we’re just beginning to see the results of our work. So don’t stay home,” she said adding that the “worst thing possible” would be if people did not come out to vote.
Hoping to capture the spirit of then Senator Barack Obama’s surprising Iowa caucus win -- Mrs. Obama said this election too is about ignoring what the polls are saying.
“I met some of you out there in Iowa where we proved that polls don’t matter and that the real community organizing can inspire young people and old to get involved, we saw that ourselves,” she said, “Let’s not forget our young voters, let’s not forget their focus and engagement, let us not forget that they are ready to make a difference this November just as they did in 2008.”
Mrs. Obama said today that she is here to tell everyone that the president needs them once again.
“The president needs allies like all of you who will stand up with him in Washington as he stands up for the nation,” the First lady said adding that they need everyone now to work harder than ever, “we all are going to need to dig deep, and we all can do whatever it takes to support democrats who will work to keep our country moving forward.”
Mrs. Obama took two questions from the call. The first from a volunteer in St. Louis who expressed sentiment similar to those President Obama has faced within questions posed to him at his backyard events recently.
“How do we get people fired up and excited to come out and vote for Democrats considering that so many of them are concerned about the personal economic situation and they are not very optimistic about how voting can change that?,” Monica, a volunteer asked.
The First Lady said she knows that is something that is on everybody’s mind, but that people have to be reminded about the progress, she says, the president has made –citing the Recovery Act, and the 8 months of job growth.
“Both Barack and I deeply appreciate that we have more work,” she added, “we all see it out there, people are hurting. So we share that frustration about the pace of change, because change takes time. And when you’re out of a job you don’t necessarily feel that, you don’t necessarily hear that. So we understand that frustration and we know that we, along with every Americans, need to work even harder to strengthen the economy further. But we are on our way.”
Mrs. Obama says that change comes not just by hoping, but by steady work, and called for a reinvigoration of the excitement reminiscent of the days leading up to the Iowa caucus.
“It’s time for us to reengage that energy,” she said. and that is what I’m looking forward to.
The First Lady makes her first official step on the campaign trail next Wednesday where she will campaign first for Senator Russ Feingold in Wisconsin. She has stops for Alexi Giannoulias, Representative Debbie Halvorson, Dan Seals, and Bill Foster in Illinois, Senator Michael Bennet in Colorado, Senator Patty Murray in Washington, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Barbara Boxer in California. She will speak at two fundraising dinners for the Women’s Leadership Forum within the DNC in New York and California. And the First Lady’s office just announced they have added a stop for Mrs. Obama for Dick Blumenthal in Connecticut on October 18th.
“I’m looking forward to getting back out there, reaching out to people, working side-by-side with folks.” Mrs. Obama – aka “the closer” -- said of her upcoming campaign schedule. “We’ve got 27 more days of hard work and I’m going to be out there joining you. I’m excited about it. And I want you guys fired up and ready to go.”
In the week leading up to her first foray onto the campaign trail for the midterms, we’ve seen an increase in Mrs. Obama’s participation. In addition to the conference call today, on Tuesday Mrs. Obama sent out a fundraising email to OFA supporters, asking for cash.
“Barack and I need you to help show that energy again,” Mrs. Obama writes in the email, “Because this is such a critical moment, a group of grassroots donors are ready to match any contribution you can give.”
Mrs. Obama asked for $3 donations which would be matched.
“The same people who've opposed us at every turn are targeting the folks who voted to make change real. They think we can't do it again. But they're wrong….That's why we're asking you to help grow this movement once again.”