Michelle Obama stole the show at last night’s Democratic National Convention, sending the crowd wild with a swipe at Donald Trump and barely leaving a dry eye in the house after referencing that she wakes each day “in a house built by slaves”.
The First Lady’s 15-minute speech backing Hillary Clinton for president on Monday left some in tears, while former president Bill Clinton was caught on camera mouthing the word “wow”. President Barack Obama later wrote on Twitter: “Incredible speech by an incredible woman.”
Obama told the delegates that this election is about “who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives”.
She added that the election would also determine who will give hope to the next generation, or instill fear, and made clear who she was backing.
“Every word we utter, every action we take, we know they are watching,” Obama said. “We as parents are their most important role models.”
She added: “I want a president who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters.
“I want a president with a record of public service, someone whose life work shows our children that we don’t seek fame and fortune for ourselves.”
That responsibility, Obama said, also fell to her role as first lady: “We know that our words and actions matter not just to our girls, but to children across this country.”
Taking a jab at Donald Trump and others who have questioned her husband’s citizenship and his faith, Obama repeated the advice she and the president have shared with their children.
“When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don’t stoop to their level,” she said. “No, our motto is: ‘When they go low, we go high.’”
The First Lady recalled a simple but telling moment her husband shared with a little boy to tell those in Wells Fargo Center and watching across the US that this election comes downs to more than party divisions stirring Democrats as the convention begins.
“Kids like the little black boy who looked up at my husband with eyes wide, and he wondered, ‘Is my hair like yours?’” she said. “Make no mistake about it, this November when we go to the polls that is what we are deciding. Not Democrat or Republican. Not left or right.”
In a nod to disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporters, Obama noted Clinton’s loss to her husband in 2008. “Hillary knows this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments.”
Instead, Obama said, Clinton decided to keep coming back to put “cracks in the highest and hardest glass ceiling” and take the country along with her. It’s that story of America, she said, that brought her to Philadelphia to deliver her speech.
“It’s the story of generations who lived their lives in the US feeling the lash of bondage... the sting of segregation, but who kept striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.
“And I watch my daughters, two beautiful and intelligent black young women, playing with their dogs on the White House lawn.”
Now, because of Clinton, Obama said her daughters will “take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.”