DALE CITY, Va. (CBSDC/AP) — First lady Michelle Obama rallied supporters Thursday at a campaign stop in northern Virginia with a broad defense of her husband’s record.
Obama spoke to nearly 750 supporters and volunteers at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Dale City, about 25 miles south of the nation’s capital.
Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008, the first Democrat to do so in a presidential contest since 1964. Virginia is considered a swing state in this year’s contest, and Prince William County is a swing county within Virginia.
Michelle Obama warned that the election will be closer this year than in 2008, though she never mentioned his presumptive Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. She urged supporters to register people to vote and talk up her husband’s record on job creation, stepping in to bail out the auto industry and women’s rights.
“Protecting women’s health is a mission that has nothing to do with politics,” she said.
Abortion rights was elevated to a major issue this year by Virginia’s General Assembly, which gained national attention for legislation that would have required women to undergo an invasive medical procedure before getting an abortion. Amid a backlash, the law was modified to require only an external ultrasound.
She also defended the president’s record on job growth, which some have seen as a potential weakness for Obama.
She reminded the audience that the economy was losing 750,000 jobs a month when Obama took office. “For the past 27 straight months, we actually have been gaining private sector jobs,” she said.
And she said Obama, as the child of a single mother, grew up with the experiences and values that will ensure he is an advocate for working Americans.
For all the advice presidents receive, she said that ultimately “all you have to guide you are your life experiences … your values.”
The first lady stopped at Mom’s Apple Pie Bakery in Occoquan, Va., where she bought apple and sour cherry pies after chatting and posing for photos with patrons. Sydney Trapp, a 6-year-old Obama supporter from Fredericksburg, serenaded her with Bach’s “Ode to Joy” on her violin.
Mrs. Obama, who appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman this week, made a similar campaign stop Wednesday in Pennsylvania.
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