First Lady touts opportunity

By Jim Stanford on August 11, 2012

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First Lady Michelle Obama addresses a Jackson audience today during a fund-raising visit to Snow King Resort. Photo via Elizabeth Storer.

The upcoming election offers a clear choice in values, and President Obama is best suited to preserve opportunity for all Americans because of his upbringing, First Lady Michelle Obama said during a campaign stop in Jackson today.

“He knows the American dream because he’s lived it,” Obama told a standing crowd of nearly 500 people in the Snow King ballroom.

The first lady recounted her own story of growing up the daughter of a pump operator in Chicago. Neither of her parents had a college degree.

“He saved for us and sacrificed for us,” she said of her father. “Education was everything for us.”

Barack Obama was the son of a single mother who struggled to put herself through college, and his grandmother hit glass ceilings in the workplace because she was a woman, Obama said. When it comes time to make tough decisions in the White House, the president relies on his life experiences, she said.

And once you have walked through the door of opportunity, “You do not slam it shut behind you,” Obama said, in a pointed rebuke of Mitt Romney.

The approximately 40-minute speech was a stark contrast to last month’s Romney fund-raiser in Jackson Hole hosted by Dick Cheney. Attendees at the Romney event at Teton Pines Country Club had to pay a minimum of $2,500.

At Snow King, a modest hotel and community hub, the crowd was a mix of donors, activists and grassroots Democrats. Most of the people paid as little as $25 or $100 to attend. Outside, at the resort entrance, a group of supporters held a sign that read, “We ♥ Obama.”

Women outnumbered men three or four to one, and kids lined the first row in front of the stage. Venerable naturalist Bert Raynes also sat up front and received a warm handshake from the first lady.

Obama gave a passionate defense of her husband’s record, and also called him a “cute, smart, phenomenal president.” Photo via Elizabeth Storer.

Michelle Obama touted her husband’s achievements in office, particularly health care reform, under which it is now illegal for an insurance company to deny coverage for pre-existing conditions. Women’s expenses for birth control also are covered, she pointed out.

“Barack believes women should be able to make our own choices,” she said, to some of the loudest applause of the event.

She also touted his support for student loans and making college more affordable. Obama recalled she and her husband after college being “so young, so in love, so broke.” They had student loan bills higher than their monthly mortgage payment, she said.

Obama spoke as a mother, as a working woman and as a leader, in a genuine and enthusiastic way that left a profound impact on many in the audience. Although there was a lot of the rah-rah cheerleading and campaign boilerplate to be expected, at times, as Obama talked about the power of one person to make a difference in their community, she took listeners back to the night of the Iowa caucuses from 2008.

“Never underestimate the power of your individual voice,” she said.

“Real change takes time,” she said. “It takes patience and tenacity.”

She pledged she would be back with her family to Grand Teton National Park some day, after taking care of a few things in the coming months. In the meantime, she urged everyone to do their part — “one person stepping up” — to re-elect the president.

“Have you noticed? I am very fired up,” she said, after clenching her fists for emphasis.

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Posted under Democratic Party, Politics, Wyoming

18 Comments so far

  1. JFish August 11, 2012 11:09 pm

    Heart warming. Sure is funny that you forgot to mention the 36 Thousand dollar family pass to the event. Entertaining and typical.

  2. julie zell August 12, 2012 1:03 pm

    My $100 donation was worth every penny to be inspired by this amazing woman…
    Michelle Obama rocks – poised, intelligent, educated, passionate, logical, human…
    I was honored to have the opportunity to bring my son to shake hands with the First Lady.

  3. Werner Minshall August 12, 2012 2:50 pm

    She is happiest and fulfilled knowing her supporters will be taking care by my taxes, how inspiring.

  4. Chad August 12, 2012 5:43 pm

    Werner Minshall’s private education didn’t seem to put emphasis on noun-verb agreement or interjections. How affirming.

  5. Jazz August 12, 2012 5:48 pm

    Obama haters are best ignored. Racism and bigotry is so unbecoming.

    First Lady Michelle Obama is an intelligent and well-spoken woman. She is very passionate, and proud of President Obama’s many accomplishments. Even with the obstructionist’s, oppressive/repressive, Party of No standing in the way of all progress ever since he was elected, President Obama has been able to begin the arduous process of moving our country into the 21st century. The next four years will be vital to continuing what has been accomplished thus far.

    It was a privilege to donate to the Obama campaign, and being able to see our First Lady, and our first black American First Lady at that, was a bonus that I certainly hadn’t expected. Who knew that Jackson would be honored by the presence of any notable democrat politician for the sole purpose of speaking to the common ordinary voter – it’s like what’s the use? However, Teton County (and Albany County) stands out as a shining blue star amongst all the red. Our voices need to be heard in an attempt to balance the right-wing conservatives who control politics in our State.

    I’m proud to be a Wyoming Democrat!

  6. Danno August 12, 2012 6:07 pm

    The author seems to be trying to draw a false distinction, as if the Obama campaign never holds high dollar fundraisers at SJP, Clooney or Streisand household, but Romney always does with his homies. It’s a joke, it’s the epitome of hypocrisy. Thank god the women don’t have to pay $10 a month for birth control now! Don’t take us back to those dark days

  7. alex August 13, 2012 7:27 am

    Well she’s not a creepy, dishonest, war criminal like Dick Cheney. And she’s a black woman. So of course republicans don’t like her.

  8. LB August 13, 2012 5:05 pm

    Can we just have an honest debate and agree to disagree without all of the name calling? President and Mrs. Obama are lovely people as are Mr. and Mrs. Romney. I believe this election is about the fiscal issues facing our country. I don’t want to hear who is responsible. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is who is going to fix it, and is there a way to fix it fairly? Please debate these issues without the sarcastic undertones. I don’t believe that Presdent Obama is a socialist any more than I believe that Mr. Romney cares nothing for the middle class. I am an undecided voter, and I want an honest debate.

  9. Disco Stu August 14, 2012 2:55 pm

    I agree that an honest debate focused along the center is the core of the current and coming debate. Name calling, sarcastic undertones, regressing to our most primative of instincts is not going to help anyone except our own catharsis.

    How do we continue to move forward in the coming years and still be a beacon of opportunity, grace, and individualism (I hate the word ‘freedom’) for the world?

    On one side of the debate:
    Embolden the middle class and their buying power in the market with less of a tax burden, pave a clearer path for their children to have access to better paying jobs through education, along with relieving the life stresses that healthcare and retirement can have on this group so that they can become a more productive work force and make decisions centered around happiness and not life finances vs their health or the health of their children. Complete this mandate by making millionaires and billionaires pay a larger structure of their pay and cap gains along with making corps pay larger sums of taxes for choosing to move jobs overseas, continuing to reform healthcare, SS, and Medicare — stimulate small businesses and their hiring power by reducing tax burdens.

    The Other Side of the Debate:
    Emolden the Electorate by decreasing taxes on top earners while increasing the share of the tax burden to those making less than $100K a year so that the top earners and those at the top of the economic food chain will take the significant tax savings and reinvest in private sector growth in new and exisiting industry therefore creating a surge in job creation which would subsequently bring more middle class employees to the work force paying more into the income tax system with payroll and income taxes. Balance the budget through significant cuts in entitlements that people have paid into their whole lives until the reinvestment as outlined above begins to increase federal tax revenues.

    It’s an honest debate that is boiled down to core ideaology more so than any other presidential election in my life. That’s exciting as the electorate will tell the world in November what kind of a country we will be for the next generation depending on who wins.

  10. elsie August 14, 2012 5:37 pm

    There probably isn’t a way to fix it. Fairly or otherwise.

    Jazz, ideally, what would this country look like if you could transform it any way you wanted?

  11. JFish August 14, 2012 5:46 pm

    Jazz and others. It is stone age and child like to say that conservatives do not like black people. Come on now. Too much MSNBC. Also, to have to preface your comment that she is well spoken is rather insulting to her. Why must you guys always interject race into the matter. Can we not just disagree with her and her husband without being racist? Please get into the real world.

  12. D August 15, 2012 8:29 am

    JFish you comment is just as ignorant. Do you really believe that no one in the conservative movement see race as the issue. I fully understand it’s not everyone and probably not the majority, but to act like it doesn’t exist is just as blind to the reality.

  13. JFish August 15, 2012 9:12 am

    There is always going to be racism. Does it play a role in politics today that actually affects politics. NO. Remember who is president right now. But to blanket all conservatives as racists is childish.Growing up in the south-which USED to be heavily democrat-you find a pretty equal distribution of racists-not just the conservative people. And we as Tennesseans would much rather have Obama in office than say Al Gore!

  14. James August 15, 2012 11:14 am

    She was in Jackson??? I had no idea!

  15. elsie August 15, 2012 1:19 pm

    JFish is just pointing out that any blanket statement about any group is inherently inaccurate. And, he’s right. Their race is completely un-important to me. It’s his policies and his vision for the country that I don’t like and that I am voting against.
    We could also point out that there are a large number of black people who are supporting the Obama’s based on race alone.

  16. joe August 15, 2012 4:06 pm

    the majority of high-end wealth has been invested globally directly or in-directly, and not towards higher wages or more jobs for the american middle class.

  17. Rob Weinstein August 18, 2012 1:38 pm

    Elsie, why are you making a blanket statement about blanket statements? That’s unfair and inaccurate. You can’t, honestly, believe that all blanket statements hold true for all blanket statements…can you?

  18. Jazz August 18, 2012 6:32 pm

    I don’t vote republican – ever. My view of republican politicians is that they are oppressive and repressive – reptilian-brained thinkers. There is no solving today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. I’m a progressive liberal who wants to see everyone in our country have the opportunity to become educated – from early childhood through college or trade school, and receive quality health care – not just the elitists among us. Those who have more should give more. Most of us weren’t born into wealth and saying that there is equal opportunity for all is just not true. Romney has never known what it is like to struggle – in fact you can tell that he is very uncomfortable around the “common ordinary American”. Just from watching him, it’s obvious that he is not only uncomfortable but repulsed just being around those beneath him in stature. But he needs their votes so will pander to them. In other words, lie, cheat, and steal to reach his goal of becoming POTUS. The vile lies that are being said about President Obama in Romney’s campaign ads reveal the type of person Romney really is. The wealthy plutocrats (Republicans) who actually run our government (and the world) didn’t like George W. Bush and they don’t like Mitt Romney, but they are spending millions – make that billions – just to get Romney elected. They need someone in the White House to do their bidding for them. When the republicans are in the White House the economy always goes south – and we, the average American citizen, are their puppets – their slaves. Biden was right – ALL of us are put in chains when the republicans run the government – the very same government that they say they hate. They will only be happy when they can rule America under a theocratic dictatorship. Keeping the average American uneducated and ignorant makes it so much easier to control the masses. I have absolutely no respect for Mitt Romney or his wet-behind-the-ears VP pick. Romney is a hypocrite, a racist, a sexist, a homophobe, a draft dodger, a coward, a bully, a wealthy elitist who has absolutely no idea how the average America struggles just to survive – nor does he care. Help us all if Romney/Ryan win this election.

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