The White House
Office of the First Lady
Remarks by the First Lady to the Hispanic Caucus at the Democratic National Convention
Charlotte Convention Center
Charlotte, North Carolina
11:47 A.M. EDT
MRS. OBAMA: Oh, my goodness! (Applause.) I'm still thrilled. I'm a little sleepy. (Laughter.) But I'm so happy to be here today. Thank you so much. (Applause.)
I want to start by thanking Iris for not just that very kind introduction, but it's true -- she says she's "just" a state senator. Let me just make clear, Barack Obama was weaned on "state senator." He got here because he learned how to do it, doing what Iris has been doing. (Applause.) So we're so proud, I'm so proud of you, Iris. It's so wonderful to see you. And just keep doing what you're doing. Let’s give her another round of applause. (Applause.)
So how about that opening night last night? (Applause.) Yes, the energy, the enthusiasm that we saw last night -- it really made it clear that folks are pretty fired up and ready to go -- (applause) -- which is a -- it's a very good thing. But more importantly, last night truly set the stage for what’s at stake in this election -- we can't overlook that -- and what we need to do to guide us forward for these next four years.
The evening really reflected Barack's broad, inclusive vision for this country as a place where every single one of us has something very unique and very special to contribute, and we should all have a fair chance to make it in this country if we’re willing to work for it -- which I know we are. (Applause.)
So today, I'm not going to talk long because I talked a lot last night. (Applause.) But I want to say thank you all for the critical role that you play in making that vision a reality.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Love you, Michelle!
MRS. OBAMA: Love you -- love you, babe. Love you so much. (Applause.)
But I want to thank you for everything that you all do every single day to lift up our communities. You all are doing that hard work -- that hard work on the ground to keep moving this country forward -- whether it’s building good schools that prepare our kids for good jobs and good opportunities -- (applause) -- and all of our kids deserve that opportunity; whether it's passing health reform so that families don’t go broke because someone gets sick; whether it’s helping folks stay in their homes; or fighting for the DREAM Act -- (applause) -- so that all of our children have opportunities worthy of their dreams and their promise.
And all of our kids are worthy. That's what my husband knows. My husband has been working hard to build a ladder to the middle class for all Americans, so that we can all go as far as our talent and our hard work can take us.
And I know that’s why all of you are here today -- you came here not just to this convention, but to this caucus, because you know that all of that is at stake in this election. It's all on the line.
And I know you’re here today because you believe, like I believe, that my husband has been an extraordinary President -- (applause) -- and that he has the vision, the character, the wisdom, the courage, the experience to keep moving this country forward for the next four years.
But make no mistake about it -- this election is about even more than just the issues at stake right now. And it’s about even more than the candidates that are on the ballot this year. This election, more than anything else and more than any other in history, is about how we want our democracy to function for decades to come. I mean, think about it. It’s about the lessons we want our kids and grandkids to learn as they watch these campaigns and they see those election results on November 6th.
So we have to step back and ask ourselves, do we want to give the message that a few individuals have a far bigger say in our democracy than everybody else?
MRS. OBAMA: Do we want our elections to be all about who buys the most ads on TV?
MRS. OBAMA: Do we want our kids and grandkids to walk away from this election feeling like regular folks can no longer be heard?
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Yes! (Laughter.)
MRS. OBAMA: Or -- it's a little confusing. (Laughter.) We got excited on this side. (Laughter.) But I know -- we're with you! No, we don't! (Applause.)
Or are we going to show them that here in America, we all have an equal voice in the voting booth -- (applause) -- and we all have a say in this country’s future, and a bottom-up, grassroots movement of people who love this country can always come together to move it forward? What do we want to do?
MRS. OBAMA: But make no mistake about it, with every call that you make, understand -- because this is where the work comes in, right? We can give good speeches and be all enthusiastic, but the bottom line is the work.
MRS. OBAMA: And with every call you make, with every door you knock on, with every voter you register, you all are providing the answers to those questions. You all are providing it. You all are making a powerful statement about how we want our democracy to work.
And by taking part in the democratic process that for more than two centuries has made America the greatest country on Earth, you all are helping to preserve that legacy for generations to come. That’s also what this is about.
So we don’t have a single minute to waste. We truly don’t. Time is of the essence. We’re going to need all of you to work like you’ve never worked before. No, I mean really work like you’ve never worked before. (Applause.) We’re going to need every single one of you to get out there every, single day between now and November 6th --
AUDIENCE: We’ve got your back! (Applause.)
MRS. OBAMA: And I know you do. And I have seen it. Truly, I have seen it. I’ve been out there. I’ve been working hard, traveling around the country. And let me tell you, we have a first-rate campaign. I am so proud of our campaign. (Applause.)
We have thousands of offices all over the country -- thousands of them -- millions of volunteers working hard, team leaders making calls every single day. The work on the ground -- we have so many ways for people to get involved in this campaign. So if you’re wondering, well, if I haven’t taken that step, what do I do? Simple: Go to barackobama.com -- simple -- barackobama.com today. And sign up to get involved. Roll up your sleeves and get something done. (Applause.)
And you all know that this election is about those battleground states. So don’t worry if you don’t see a lot of action in your state because you’re not in a battleground state. This is about the battleground states so -- but if you don’t live in a battleground state, then get to one. (Laughter and applause.) Yes, get to a battleground state. Find one near you. Get to a battleground state. (Applause.)
If you can afford to write a check, then write a check. If you’ve written a check and you haven’t maxed out, max out. (Laughter and applause.)
But more importantly, the real power comes from you as individuals. Make sure that every single person you know within the reach of your arm, within the sound of your voice -- all your friends, your neighbors, that nephew you haven’t seen since Christmas, that college roommate you haven’t spoken to, congregation members, whoever it may be -- make sure every, single one of them gets to the polls and casts their votes.
Because, as Barack said, this election is going to be even closer than the last one. And all elections in this country are close -- they have been since I have been paying attention. They’re always close.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: We’ve got to make Ohio blue!
MRS. OBAMA: Make it blue! Make it blue! Make it blue! (Applause.)
But understand -- I try to help people put this in perspective because in the end this election could come down to those last few thousand votes in some of those key battleground states like Ohio.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Virginia!
MRS. OBAMA: And Virginia.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Florida!
MRS. OBAMA: And Florida. We can name them all!
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Nebraska!
MRS. OBAMA: I’m not sure about Nebraska, but -- (laughter) -- we want every vote in Nebraska that we can get.
But just think back to 2008. Back then we won Florida by 236,000 votes. (Applause.) And while that might sound like a lot, that’s just 36 votes per precinct. We’ve done those numbers, because it’s important to understand just how crucial every little bit means -- 36 votes. You can picture that -- 36 votes. And if you think that’s close, don’t forget that we won North Carolina by just 14,000 votes. (Applause.) And that’s just five votes per precinct -- five!
So starting the minute you get up out of these chairs, we need you to get out there and get those 36 votes. We need you to get those five votes. And then when you get those five, get five more. And after that, keep getting five. Because we all know -- we all know somebody, right? (Applause.) We all know five people. We all know 36 people among all of us that can make the difference in the election.
And we need you to do that work and don’t stop until the polls close on November 6th. Because what you all do every day for the next 62 days will make the difference between us waking up on November 7th and asking ourselves, could we have done more -- or feeling the promise of four more years. (Applause.)
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years! Four more years!
MRS. OBAMA: Four more years!
AUDIENCE: Four more years! Four more years!
MRS. OBAMA: With your help. With your help.
So I guess I don’t have to ask you, are you fired up?
AUDIENCE: Fired up!
MRS. OBAMA: Are you ready to go?
AUDIENCE: Ready to go!
MRS. OBAMA: Are you ready to roll up your sleeves?
MRS. OBAMA: Work harder than you’ve never worked before? We can get this done.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Si, se puede!
MRS. OBAMA: Si, se puede!
AUDIENCE: Si, se puede!
MRS. OBAMA: And I look forward to working with all of you all on the campaign trail. Get out there. Let’s get it done.
Thank you all. God bless. (Applause.)
12:00 P.M. EDT