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First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at Miami

By Lauren Ceronie, Sarah Sidlow
On November 3, 2012

First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama spoke to a crowd of 2,600 at a chilly Withrow Court Saturday.

"You have a really beautiful campus I hope you realize how lucky you are, it's really beautiful," Obama said.

Mrs. Obama wasn't the only famous person in Withrow Court. Celebrity artist Will.I.Am made a surprise appearance as well. Obama said Will.I.Am has been a supporter of her husband from the beginning and is campaigning in Ohio along with President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama.

Obama was introduced by first-year Alex Ponikvar, who joked in an interview after that his college career could only go downhill from here.

"She is an inspiring woman," Ponikvar said. "She was so warm and welcoming."

Ponikvar said he was too excited to be nervous before his introduction.

"It was amazing, absolutely a once in a lifetime experience," he said.

Laura Kretz, president of College Democrats, said she was delighted with the event turnout.

"It was fantastic," Kretz said. "The enthusiasm was great, everybody had an amazing time."

Mrs. Obama highlighted some of her husband's major accomplishments including the Lilly Ledbetter Act and the repeal of 'Don't Ask Don't Tell.' Both mentions garnered loud cheers from the crowd.

The first lady also addressed the closeness of the Presidential race.

"This election is going to be closer than the last election; that is the only guarantee, so we need to brace for it," Obama said. "And it will all come down to what happens in a few key battleground states, especially this state; right here in Ohio. So, especially for our young people let me put this in perspective...back in 2008 Barack won Ohio by about 262 thousand votes. And while that might sound like a lot, when you break that number down across precincts throughout an entire state, that's just 24 votes per precinct. That's how these races work."

She urged attendees to use the next three days before the election to knock on doors and get involved in the 'get out the vote (GOTV)' movement.

"...one vote in a neighborhood, just a single vote in an apartment building could make the decision," Obama said. "Just one more vote in a dorm room could change the direction of a nation."

Questions arose over why Withrow Court was chosen as the venue for the First Lady. According to Claire Wagner, Associate Director of University Communications, Obama's advance team chose the venue. Miami offered Goggin Ice Center (the ice can be drained), but the advance team did not want to disrupt any usual activity, according to Wagner.

Like at the Paul Ryan rally earlier this year, Miami did not sponsor the event, Wagner said. The university helped with logistics of the event only-things like connecting the advance team with security and making sure the venue had wireless internet.


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