Michelle Obama Steps Into the 2012 Campaign

ABC News' Sunlen Miller reports: "The Closer" of the 2008 presidential campaign has officially stepped into the 2012 race.

First lady Mrs. Obama, speaking from a podium decorated with 2012 signage, in her first formal speech of the reelection campaign, said her husband needs supporters to stick with him and “be in this with him for the long haul.”

In the first peek at her 2012 message, Mrs. Obama called on voters to once again believe in her husband, even when some supporters have questioned him over the last few years in office.

“Even in the toughest moments, when it seems like all is lost, and everybody is wringing their hands, and calling, worrying and calling -- what's going on, what's he doing, what's going on -- I’m one of those people -- Barack Obama never loses sight of the end goal,” Mrs. Obama said at the annual Women’s Leadership Forum National Issues Conference in Washington, D.C. today. “ He never lets himself get distracted by the chatter and the noise, even if it comes from some of his best supporters. He just keeps moving forward.”

Mrs. Obama said in the moments when everyone is sweating and worried about the possibilities of a bill not passing or negotiations falling through that her husband keeps his cool thinking about the end game.

“Barack always reminds me that we’re playing a long game here. He reminds me that change is slow. He reminds me that change doesn’t happen all at once.”

Mrs. Obama essentially asked the group in the audience to think about the end game when casting their vote this time around in 2012.

“Now more than ever before, we need to finish what we’ve started and we need your help. We need all of you to be with us for the next phase of our journey. And I am not going to kid you, because I never do, I said this in the first campaign it is going to be long. It is going to be hard. It’s designed that way. And there will be plenty of twists and turns along the way.”

Admitting that there are so many challenges and work to go Mrs. Obama said it’s “easy to forget what we’ve done along the way,” so ticked though a laundry list of accomplishments of her husband’s first term, including cutting taxes for middle-class families, credit card reform, a childcare tax credit, passing the equal pay for equal work law, health care reform, clean energy reform, education reform, and ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Mrs. Obama also highlighted the May 1st killing of Osama bin Laden.

“Thanks to the tireless work of our intelligence and counter-terrorism communities and the heroic efforts of our troops, the man behind the 9/11 attacks and so many other horrific acts has finally been brought to justice.”

The first lady asked for people in the audience to declare that they’re “in” for the 2012 reelection campaign, and stressed how hard her husband will work for four more years, if reelected.

“He works so very hard every day,” she appealed to the crowd. “It’s unbelievable, starting first thing in the morning every day and going late into the night, hunched over briefings, reading every single word of every single memo he gets, making notes, writing questions, making sure he knows more than the people briefing him, because all of those wins and losses are not wins and losses for him. They’re wins and losses for the folks whose stories he carries with him, the folks he worries about and prays about before he goes to bed at night."

All proceeds from the day-long fundraising event, aimed at women donors and featuring senior women in the administration, go to the Obama Victory Fund. President Obama is set to address the group this evening.

-- Sunlen Miller

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