Jessica Ebelhar / Pool, AP Photo
Tuesday, May 1, 2012 | 3:40 p.m.
First Lady Michelle Obama energized campaign workers in Las Vegas on Tuesday with a pep rally appearance for the president that hearkened to the grass-roots efforts that got him elected in 2008.
Addressing about 300 workers at the Springs Preserve, near where she spoke earlier at a private fundraiser, she thanked volunteers for their efforts but reminded them that they needed to continue their work if they’re going to be successful in returning her husband to the White House.
The first lady’s appearance was the third stop on a four-state campaign swing of key battleground states.
In a 20-minute speech frequently interrupted by enthusiastic cheers and chants, she reminded workers of her husband’s accomplishments, emphasizing what she called “the values we believe in” and “the vision of this country that we all share.”
“It’s that fundamental promise that no matter who you are or how you started out, if you work hard you can build a decent life for yourself and an even better life for your kids,” Obama told supporters. “That’s what we need you to tell people.”
She talked about the president’s accomplishments battling unemployment, saving Detroit’s auto industry, implementing health care reform and appointing two women to the Supreme Court. Everything on the list tied back to an effort to create a better life for the underprivileged.
“Barack knows what it means when a family struggles,” the first lady said. “He knows what it means when someone doesn’t have a chance to fulfill their potential. And today, as a father, he knows what it means to want something better for your kids. Those are the experiences that made him the man and the president that he is today.”
On health care, she noted that adult children up to 26 years old and senior citizens have benefited from the president’s reform policies, which are under review by the Supreme Court.
“Insurance companies will have to cover preventive care because of this reform, and millions of our seniors have saved an average of more than $600 a year on their prescription drugs,” she said.
One thing she didn’t mention was the military mission that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden — an event a number of politicians, including Sen. Harry Reid, noted today on the one-year anniversary.
She made a passing reference to homeland security, saying Democratic values include the desire to have “clean air, safe streets and we want (children) to grow up in a world that is peaceful and secure.”
Most of her remarks emphasized volunteer efforts and how important their continued support is.
“It all boils down to one simple question: Will we continue the change and the progress we made or will we allow everything we fought for to just slip away?” she said. “In the end, this could all come down to just that last few thousand people we register to vote. It could all come down to those last few thousand people we help get to the polls on Nov. 6. We need to treat every call and every interaction like it’s the one that could make the difference.”
The first lady’s appearance was preceded by remarks from several key campaign volunteers and by State Sen. Ruben Kihuen. State Sens. Steven Horsford and Mo Denis also were in the crowd, which supporters listed at 400, but appeared closer to 300.
There were no chairs and minimal ventilation, leading to one supporter collapsing near the end of Obama’s presentation. Paramedics tended to the supporter and it appeared Obama did not see the commotion.
After her presentation, she greeted supporters in an area reserved for the disabled before leaving for an appearance in Albuquerque, N.M.
Prior to her stop in Las Vegas, Obama opened a six-day sports competition for wounded soldiers and veterans in Colorado Springs, Colo., and made an appearance in Tucson, Ariz., on Monday.
Political commentator Jon Ralston reported that she spent the night at Caesars Palace Monday before attending the fundraiser early Tuesday.