First lady Michelle Obama on Thursday appeared with Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail for the first time, and reiterated her case for why the former secretary of state is unquestionably qualified to be president.
Clinton and Obama, two of the country’s most influential women, took the stage together at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Clinton, who could become the president-elect in two weeks, introduced Obama and touted her accomplishments as first lady.
“Let’s be real, as our first African-American first lady, she faced pressures I never did,” Clinton said. “She has handled them with pure grace. By any standards, she’s has been an outstanding first lady who made us all so proud.”
“Seriously, is there anyone more inspiring than Michelle Obama?” Clinton asked, prompting Obama to immediately point back at Clinton.
The two women hugged before and after each of them spoke, and Obama even danced in her seat at one point behind Clinton as she was speaking.
When it was Obama’s turn to speak, she admitted she was “thrown off” a bit by Clinton’s praise and called her a “friend.” She went on to offer a stirring case for the Democratic nominee, saying that she was the most qualified person to ever seek the presidency.
Echoing her moving speech from the Democratic National Convention in July, Obama framed the election as a crucial choice that would shape the future for America’s children.
“Hillary doesn’t play,” Obama said. “This is not about Republicans versus Democrats. None of that matters this time around. No, no, no, this election is about something much bigger. It’s about who will shape our children and the country we leave for them, not just for the next four, eight years, but for the rest of their lives.”
Since her DNC speech, Obama has emerged as one of the Clinton campaign’s most powerful surrogates. She has told young voters that Clinton is an inspiring figure, and gave a speech earlier this month in which she poignantly explained why it hurts women when Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump brags about sexual assault. Her comments have gotten Trump’s attention, as he attacked the first lady on Friday even though she is one of the country’s most popular political figures.
This is not about Republicans versus Democrats. None of that matters this time around. First lady Michelle Obama
On Thursday, Obama also dismissed Trump’s claim that the presidential election is rigged against him.
“When you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy, that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home,” she said. “That the outcome has already been determined and you shouldn’t even bother trying to make your voice heard. They are trying to take away your hope.”
“And just for the record, in this country, the United States of America, the voters decide our elections, they’ve always decided,” she added. “Voters decide who wins and loses, period, end of story.”
Obama said during her DNC speech that she and her husband dealt with attacks on their faith by taking the high road. “When they go low, we go high,” she said.
She used that line again at Wake Forest to tell audience members that voting was the ultimate way they could rebuke Trump.
“Casting our vote is the ultimate way we go high when they go low,” she said. “Voting is our high. That’s how we go high ― we vote.”