Michelle Obama Energizes Young Voters For Clinton On Campaign Trail | KUOW News and Information

Michelle Obama Energizes Young Voters For Clinton On Campaign Trail

Sep 17, 2016
Originally published on September 17, 2016 6:38 am
Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

And, of course, the most eminent surrogate that Hillary Clinton has deployed is Michelle Obama, who spoke to an audience of millennials yesterday at George Mason University in Virginia. NPR's Ailsa Chang was there.

AILSA CHANG, BYLINE: This was a rally for Hillary Clinton, but Michelle Obama's presence here got people thinking about a totally different woman.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: This is like a Beyonce concert.

DAMI ARIYO: Yes.

CHANG: Oh, this is like a Beyonce concert?

ARIYO: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: They described it as a Beyonce concert.

CHANG: Wait, who described it as a Beyonce concert?

DAMI ARIYO AND LAQUASIA LEGRAND AND CORIN OWSLEY: Somebody in the crowd.

CHANG: And these three seniors at George Mason University agreed. I asked these women, Dami Ariyo, Laquasia LeGrand and Corin Owsley, what made it feel like Beyonce. LeGrand said it was just that everyone glowed with positivity.

LAQUASIA LEGRAND: Last time when Clinton was here, there were so many anti-Clinton people standing on the line.

CHANG: But this time, LeGrand said she didn't see any anti-Clinton demonstrators outside because the first lady just has a different effect on people.

LEGRAND: Like, knowing that the first lady is here, I'm not going to, like, you know...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Push it.

LEGRAND: Yeah.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: What can you say about Michelle that's negative? Like...

LEGRAND: Yeah.

CHANG: And the Clinton campaign hopes some of that rock star sparkle will rub off on their own candidate.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Michelle Obama.

(CHEERING)

CHANG: Mrs. Obama's popularity is soaring. Her approval rating was at 64 percent in last month's Gallup poll. And this crowd wanted her to stay four more years.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting) Four more years.

MICHELLE OBAMA: Let me say this - you have - you have me and Barack working on your behalf for the rest of our lives, so no need to worry.

(CHEERING)

OBAMA: We're going to be here.

CHANG: The first lady then tore into Donald Trump without ever mentioning his name. She warned against a candidate who was erratic and threatening, who traffics in prejudice fears and lies and who she said can't be trusted with the gravity of the office.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OBAMA: When you're making life-or-death war or peace decisions, a president can't just pop off.

CHANG: She said it's not enough for a commander in chief to have good judgment. The president needs superb judgment.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OBAMA: Because a president can hire the best advisers on Earth. But let me tell you, five advisers will give five different opinions, and the president and the president alone is always the one to make the final call. Believe me.

CHANG: Then Mrs. Obama spoke directly to the younger members of the crowd. She said in 2012, voters under 30 provided her husband's margin of victory in four battleground states. In Virginia, the difference between the candidates was 31 votes per precinct.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OBAMA: In Ohio, the difference there was just nine votes per precinct. Do you hear me? In Florida, the difference was six votes per precinct. Take that in for a moment.

CHANG: Dami Ariyo did take that in. When she first walked into the rally feeling like she was at a Beyonce concert, she wasn't sure she wanted to vote for Clinton or vote at all. But now, she says, she realizes how much she could help defeat Trump.

ARIYO: I was like, OK, yeah. You definitely put that into perspective. OK, yes, yes, I have to do something.

CHANG: Though what still makes Ario hesitate a little about Clinton is the feeling that she can't trust her. Audra Nixon in Fulton, Md., gets that. But she says Michelle Obama's full-throated endorsement makes Clinton seem more trustworthy.

AUDRA NIXON: I think what she contributes is authenticity. And when you have a person who's transparent and authentic and she's in support of a presidential candidate, those of us who believe in Michelle, her belief in Hillary is kind of transferred.

CHANG: So no doubts for Nixon now. When she was in line to get into this event, she tweeted, yes, I am definitely a Hillary fan.

NIXON: And then I said hashtag #flotus2potus (ph) because, oh, my god, the idea that she could ever possibly run for the presidency.

CHANG: Oh, Michelle, I thought you were talking about Hillary being FLOTUS to POTUS. That would - that's FLOTUS to POTUS. It could work.

NIXON: Right?

CHANG: Yeah.

NIXON: She was, but I was talking about Michelle.

CHANG: I know.

NIXON: (Laughter).

CHANG: President Obama has said before that one of the things certain in life is that his wife will not run for president - something Clinton might be thankful for this year. Ailsa Chang, NPR News, Fairfax, Va. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.