CHARLOTTE, N.C.–Flawless. A grand slam. Superior.
They sound like blurbs on a movie poster, but these plaudits and others have been used to describe Michelle Obama's speech Sept. 4 at the Democratic National Convention.
Delivered to a standing-room-only crowd, the first lady's remarks have been the talk of social media and news broadcasts since she took the stage at Time Warner Cable Arena.
"You can't be here," an usher said to a photographer who attempted to join the tightly assembled group of photojournalists at the foot of the stage. "This area is already full."
Other ushers and security personnel struggled to keep walkways clear and maintain order as audience members streamed onto the convention floor, angling for a vantage point in the moments before Mrs. Obama appeared at the podium.
According to Twitter, reaction to the speech at one point reached 28,000 tweets per minute — double the amount of Twitter buzz received by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at last week’s Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Michelle Obama scored "not a home run, but a grand slam" CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer opined.
Although the speech in some ways echoed the one she delivered at Denver's Pepsi Center during 2008 Democratic National Convention, this week she spoke in a way that only a current first lady could.
"When people ask me whether being in the White House has changed my husband, I can honestly say that when it comes to his character, and his convictions, and his heart, Barack Obama is still the same man I fell in love with all those years ago," Michelle Obama said.
With President Obama's likability rating at 65 percent, according to a CNN/ORC International poll, the first lady was less concerned with "humanizing" him and more focused on countering perceptions of her husband's coolness and aloofness.
"As president, you can get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people,” she said. “But at the end of the day, when it comes time to make that decision, as president, all you have to guide you are your values, your vision and the life experiences that make you who you are.”
As she did in Denver in 2008, she talked about her family history as well as the president's life story — drawing a contrast between him and Romney without naming the former Massachusetts governor directly.
"We learned about gratitude and humility, that so many people had a hand in our success, from the teachers who inspired us to the janitors who kept our school clean, and we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect," she said, describing her childhood.
Once the spouse who expressed misgivings about her husband's political career and the strains it might impose on their family, the first lady seems to have embraced politicking in an effort to bring about the president's reelection.
President Obama watched his wife's speech at the White House with their daughters, Malia, 14, and Sasha, age 11, on a day that also held particular significance for Malia. Tuesday was her first day of high school.
Michelle Obama, “mom in chief” at the White House, told the audience that while her husband gives her the credit for their children growing into well-adjusted and happy young people, his role as a doting father has also contributed to who they are.
She gave her husband high praise for his character.
"I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who you are,” she said. “It reveals who you are.”
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