First lady stumps for President Obama in Miami


First lady Michelle Obama urged her husband’s supporters to vote early. Joining her: Singer Marc Anthony and Dwyane Wade’s girlfriend — actress Gabrielle Union.

With her husband tied up much of the week managing the response to Superstorm Sandy, first lady Michelle Obama arrived in Florida on Thursday to speak to his supporters in Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, and Miami.

She hammered at the importance of volunteers working to finish the final five days of the campaign strongly with ramped-up, get-out-the-vote efforts.

In Miami, she spoke to a majority female, heavily Democratic crowd of about 4,000 people at the James L. Knight Center. She hit many of the same talking points as her speech at the Democratic National Convention. She spoke about her husband’s struggles, his respect for women, and the important work he still had to accomplish in office.

“Just a few of you here could swing an entire precinct for Barack Obama,” she told the raucous supporters, who waved posters and occasionally interrupted her with chants of “Four more years.”

Grammy Award-winning singer Marc Anthony joined Obama in Daytona Beach and downtown Miami, speaking before the first lady. Also teaming up with Obama and Anthony in Miami was Dwyane Wade’s girlfriend — actress Gabrielle Union.

Earlier in the day, Wade was among the early voters in Miami.

The last person to introduce the first lady was Josefina Batista, 67, a team leader in West Miami with the Obama campaign.

To the Knight Center crowd, Michelle Obama emphasized everything she said her husband had accomplished and seemed to gear her talk toward the women in the audience.

She pointed out that it was President Obama who signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and said that his healthcare reform would keep health-insurance companies from charging women more than men.

“My husband will always have our backs,” she said.

Her words also echoed those in Daytona Beach, where she told the people inside a packed convention hall that their continued commitment down the stretch could again help turn the tide in a state that President Obama won by about 236,000 votes in 2008. Michelle Obama said that margin averaged to 36 votes per precinct in Florida, and added that “this room alone could make the difference.”

Singer Stevie Wonder warmed up the crowd of 4,000 supporters in downtown Jacksonville, the first stop on the Florida tour.

Early voting is under way across the state and the first lady spent each stop in Florida trying to firm up President Obama’s message about what he believes is at stake in Tuesday’s election.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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