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  • [MICHELLE OBAMA]

  • Thank you so much.

  • [CROWD]

  • Four more years!  Four more years!

  • [MICHELLE OBAMA]

  • With your help, with your help.

  • Let me, let me start.  I want to start by thanking Elaine.  Elaine, thank you so

  • much.  We are so grateful for your family's service and sacrifice ... and we will always

  • have your back.

  • Over the past few years as First Lady, I have had the extraordinary privilege of traveling

  • all across this country.

  • And everywhere I've gone, in the people I've met, and the stories I've heard,

  • I have seen the very best of the American spirit.

  • I have seen it in the incredible kindness and warmth that people have shown me and

  • my family, especially our girls.

  • I've seen it in teachers in a near-bankrupt school district who vowed to keep teaching

  • without pay.

  • I've seen it in people who become heroes at a moment's noticediving into harm's

  • way to save others, flying across the country to put outfire, driving for hours to bail

  • out a flooded town.

  • And I've seen it in our men and women in uniform and our proud military families.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • In wounded warriors who tell me they're not just going to walk again, they're going

  • to run, and they're going to run marathons.  In the young man blinded by a bomb in Afghanistan

  • who saidsimply, "I'd give my eyes 100 times again to have the chance to do what

  • I have done and what I can still do."

  • Every day, the people I meet inspire me.  Every day, they make me proud, every day they remind

  • me how blessed we are to live in the greatest nation on Earth.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • Serving as your first lady is an honor and a privilege but back when we first came together

  • four years ago, I still had some concerns about this journey we'd begun.

  • While I believed deeply in my husband's vision for this country and I was certain

  • he would make an extraordinary president, like any mother, I was worried about what

  • it would mean for our girls if he got that chance.

  • Now how would we keep them grounded under the glare of the national spotlight?

  • How would they feel being uprooted from their school, their friendsand the only home

  • they'd ever known?

  • See, our life before moving to Washington was filled with simple joys: Saturdays at

  • soccer games, Sundays at grandma's house.  And a date night for Barack and me was either dinner

  • ormovie, because as an exhausted mom, I couldn't stay awake for both.

  • [LAUGHTER]

  • And the truth is, I loved the life we had built for our girlsand I deeply loved the

  • man I had built that life with and I didn't want that to change if he became president.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • I loved Barack just the way he was.

  • You see, even though back then Barack was a senator andpresidential candidate, to

  • me, he was still the guy who'd picked me up for our dates in a car that was so rusted

  • out, I could actually see the pavement going by in a hole in the passenger side door

  • [LAUGHTER]

  • He was the guy whose proudest possession was a coffee table he'd found in a dumpster,

  • and whose only pair of decent shoes was a half size too small.

  • But, see, when Barack started telling me about his family, seenow that's when I knew

  • I had found a kindred spirit, someone whose values and upbringing were so much like mine.

  • You see, Barack and I were both raised by families who didn't have much in the way

  • of money or material possessions but who had given us something far more valuable: their unconditional

  • love, their unflinching sacrifice and the chance to go places they had never imagined

  • for themselves.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • My father was a pump operator at the city water plant, and he was diagnosed with multiple

  • sclerosis when my brother and I were young.

  • And even as a kid, I knew there were plenty of days when he was in pain.  And I knew

  • there were plenty of mornings when it was a struggle for him to simply get out of bed.

  • But every morning, I watched my father wake up with a smile, you know, grab his walker,

  • prop himself up against the bathroom sink, and slowly shave and button his uniform.

  • And when he returned home after a long day's work, my brother and I would stand at the

  • top of the stairs to our little apartment, patiently waiting to greet him.  Watching

  • as he reached down to lift one leg, and then the other, to slowly climb his way into our

  • arms.

  • But despite these challenges, my dad hardly ever missed a day of work.  He and my mom

  • were determined to give me and my brother the kind of education they could only dream

  • of.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • And when my brother and I finally made it to college, nearly all of our tuition came

  • from student loans and grants.

  • But my dad still had to pay a tiny portion of that tuition himself.

  • And every semester, he was determined to pay that bill right on time, even taking out

  • loans when he fell short.

  • He was so proud to be sending his kids to college and he made sure we never missed

  • a registration deadline because his check was late.

  • You see, for my dad, that's what it meant to be a man.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • Like so many of us, that was the measure of his success in lifebeing able to earn a

  • decent living that allowed him to support his family.

  • And, and as I got to know Barack, I realized that even though he'd grown up all the

  • way across the country, he'd been brought up just like me.

  • Barack was raised by a single mom who struggled to pay the bills, and by grandparents who

  • stepped in when she needed help.

  • Barack's grandmother started out as a secretary at a community bank and she moved quickly

  • up the ranks, but like so many women, she hitglass ceiling.

  • And for years, men no more qualified than she was -- men she had actually trained

  • -- were promoted up the ladder ahead of her, earning more and more money while Barack's

  • family continued to scrape by.

  • But day after day, she kept on waking up at dawn to catch the bus, arriving at work before

  • anyone else, giving her best without complaint or regret.

  • And, and she would often tell Barack, "so long as you kids do well, Bar, that's all

  • that really matters."

  • Like so many American families, our families weren't asking for much.

  • They didn't begrudge anyone else's success or care that others had much more than they

  • did.  In fact, they admired it.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • They simply believed in that fundamental American promise thateven if you don't start out

  • with much, if you work hard and do what you're supposed to do, you should be able to builddecent

  • life for yourself and an even better life for your kids and grandkids.

  • That's how they raised us.  That's what we learned from their example.

  • We learned about dignity and decency.  That how hard you work matters more than how much

  • you make.  That helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself.

  • We learned about honesty and integrity.  That the truth matters

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • That, that you don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules...

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • ...and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square.

  • 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.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • And we were taught to value everyone's contribution and treat everyone with respect.

  • Those are the values that Barack and I -- and so many of you -- are trying to pass on

  • to our own children.

  • That's who we are.

  • And, and standing before you four years ago, I knew thatdidn't want any of that to

  • change if Barack became president.

  • Well, today, after so many struggles and triumphs and moments that have tested my husband in

  • ways I never could have imagined, I have seen firsthand that being president doesn't change who

  • you are.  No, it, it reveals who you are.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • You see, I've gotten to see up close and personal what being president really looks

  • like.

  • And I've seen how the issues that come across a president's desk are always the hard

  • ones.  You know, the problems where no amount of data or numbers will get you to

  • the right answer.  The judgment calls where the stakes are so high, and there is no margin

  • for error.

  • And as president, you're going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of people.

  • 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, and your vision, and the life experiences that make you

  • who you are.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • So when it comes to rebuilding our economy, Barack is thinking about folks like my dad

  • and like his grandmother.

  • He's thinking about the pride that comes from a hard day's work.

  • That's why he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to help women get equal pay

  • for equal work.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • That's why he cut taxes for working families and small businesses and fought to get the

  • auto industry back on its feet.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • That's how he brought our economy from the brink of collapse to creating jobs again.  Jobs

  • you can raise a family on, good jobs right here in the United States of America.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • When it comes to the health of our families, Barack refused to listen to all those folks

  • who told him to leave health reform for another dayanother president.

  • He didn't care whether it was the easy thing to do politically.  No, that's not how

  • he was raised.  He cared that it was the right thing to do.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • He, he did it because he believes that here in America, our grandparents should be able

  • to afford their medicine. Our kids should be able to see a doctor when they're sick.  And no

  • one in this country should ever go broke because of an accident or illness.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • And he believes that women are more than capable of making our own choices about our bodies

  • and our health care

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • That's what my husband stands for.

  • [APPLAUSE]

  • When it comes to giving our kids the education they deserveBarack knows that like me and

  • like so many of you, he never could've attended college without financial aid.

  • And believe it or not, when we were first married, our combined monthly student loan

  • bill was actually higher than our mortgage.

  • Yeah, we were so young, so in love, and so in debt.

  • [LAUGHTER]