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Michelle Obama reaches out to women voters at Reno rally


Kevin Clifford / AP

First lady Michelle Obama speaks to grassroots supporters at the University of Nevada, Reno, Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 in Reno, Nev.

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 | 2 p.m.

Michelle Obama in Reno: Oct. 3, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama speaks to grassroots supporters at the University of Nevada, Reno, Wednesday, Oct 3, 2012 in Reno, Nev. Launch slideshow »

RENO — Taking the stage today at a campaign rally in Reno on her 20th wedding anniversary, first lady Michelle Obama described not only why she fell in love with Barack Obama, but why she believes he is a good president.

“When I met Barack, he had everything going for him,” she said. “He was charming, talented and very smart. But that is not why I married him.

“What truly made me fall in love with Barack Obama was his character. His decency. His honesty. His compassion and conviction.”

In an oblique reference to Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s comments that 47 percent of Americans feel entitled to government assistance, Michelle Obama said her husband has a deep belief in the American dream.

“Like so many families in this country, our families weren’t asking for much,” she told the crowd of about 3,800 at UNR. “They don’t want much. They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s success. In fact, they admired it. That’s why they pushed us.”

But, she said, her husband’s leadership is based on the premise that you help others find that same opportunity.

“When you work hard and you’ve done well and you finally walk through that doorway of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind you,” she said. “You reach back and help give other folks the chance you had to succeed.”

In her 28-minute speech, Michelle Obama reached out mostly to women voters, touting her husband’s health care law and his support for legislation for equal pay for women.

“When it comes to understanding the lives of women, when it comes to standing up for our rights and opportunities, we know my husband will always have our back,” she said.

She also issued a call for help in the final weeks of the campaign.

“We are going to need every single one of you to work like you’ve never worked before,” she said.

And she sent her husband’s supporters back out to the campaign trail with a few talking points.

“Here’s what I want you to tell (voters),” she said. “Tell them about the millions of jobs he has created. Tell them about the health reform he passed. Tell them about all those kids who can now afford college. Tell them how Barack ended the war in Iraq.”

Before the speech, U.S. Rep. Shelley Berkley expressed a little overenthusiastic optimism for the president’s campaign prospects.

“I think Obama is going to win Nevada handily — a minimum of 8 points,” she said.

That isn’t exactly the message Obama’s campaign has been trying to project. Although Obama is leading his Republican rival Mitt Romney in the polls in Nevada and other key battleground states, his campaign advisers have been careful to send the message that the election is not over.

Indeed, soon after Berkley uttered her projection, she was quickly ushered back to reporters to qualify the remark.

“The reality is we are going to fight until Nov. 6 for every single vote and not take anybody for granted,” she said.

Although the president and first lady won’t have much time for romance today, they gave each other a few Twitter shout outs.

“Happy 20th anniversary, Barack. Thank you for being an incredible partner, friend and father every day. I love you!” she wrote.

Barack Obama thumbed his own tweet.

“Twenty years ago today, I married the love of my life and my best friend. Happy anniversary, Michelle,” he wrote.

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