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The Daily Wildcat


Michelle Obama rallies hope for Hillary Clinton, America in Phoenix

Rebecca Noble
First Lady Michelle Obama greets an excited crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Ariz. on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (Photo by Rebecca Noble / Arizona Sonora News)

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke words of encouragement and hope to Arizona voters from all backgrounds at a Phoenix rally in what has recently become a swing state campaign for both presidential parties.

Calling it a “battleground,” Arizona’s democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego told the crowd at the Phoenix Convention Center that Arizona has officially become a swing state. He pointed fingers at Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, specifically, and said people like him are the reason Arizona is no longer a dominant red state.

“Arizona is a battle state because you made it one,” Gallego said. “We want it more.”

Because of this, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has targeted Arizona this week, with Bernie Sanders campaigning in Flagstaff and Tucson on Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton at ASU on Wednesday and Obama in Phoenix on Thursday.

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At the Phoenix rally, Obama reached out to people from all backgrounds by saying their differences are not as big as people often think they are.

“When it comes to our values and our dreams, we are not all that different,” Obama said. “We are a nation that is built on our differences, and that is why I believe that we are created equal.”

The theme of Obama’s speech was finding hope. Obama said when people like Donald Trump spread negativity it’s easy to feel discouraged and lose hope for the future. Obama said hope is the one thing that cannot be lost.

She said this hope, which Clinton’s campaign represents, is the same hope that makes people work hard and believe things will be better for the future.

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“This is what hope looks like,” she said, pointing to the screaming crowd.

Clinton supporter Sherri Rutman, who traveled from Tucson to see Obama, said she knew the first lady’s speech would be uplifting. She said she believes Obama represents the right values and has a way of staying positive in the face of negativity.

“We need that positivity,” Rutman said.

Obama said Trump does not understand what ordinary people face on a day-to-day basis. She said the billionaire is trapped in his tower, far away from ordinary hard working people and the reason that he feels the way he does about minority groups is because he cannot relate to them.

“He can’t see the people that worked hard and paid their bills to send their kids to college,” she said. “He can’t see people like us, because he does not share our humanity. Trump thinks we should be afraid of our Muslim brothers and sisters because he does not know who they are. It is easy for him to knock people with disabilities because he cannot relate to them.”

Rana Singh Sodhi from India said the way Trump puts people in groups is scary. He said it’s wrong to put all the people from a certain religion into one group.

“We are the people of America,” Sodhi said. “We are all different immigrants with different faiths.”

Obama spoke about Clinton’s experience and said not only does the first lady have a powerful vision for America, but she also has powerful policies that will make her vision a reality.

Obama described Clinton’s political experience and compared it to Trump’s lack of one. Obama said Clinton has what it takes to go toe to toe with foreign leaders, and she has more experience than anyone that has ever run for president — including her own husband.

“And she just happens to be a woman,” Obama said.

Obama told the crowd Clinton is the hope for the future, while Trump represents fear and conspiracy, the opposite of hope. At the end of her speech she asked the crowd to get out and vote.

“If you like my speech, then go vote,” she said. “If you want to stand up for your fellow Americans, then go vote. If you want to elect Hillary Clinton, vote.”

In closing, Obama challenged voters personally.

“My final question, Phoenix, are you with me? Are we gonna get this done?”

The crowd roared.

Follow Nate Airulla on Twitter.

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