CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — In a final push before Election Day, Michelle Obama urged North Carolina supporters on Monday to work hard for her husband, making sure they and their friends cast ballots in this critical battleground state.
"This is the last day before the election. This is it," she told 4,500 people at a campaign rally inside an airplane hangar near Charlotte-Douglas International Airport. "I know many of you voted already. That's a good thing. I know many of you will be voting tomorrow. ...We are reaching out to voters who will keep this country moving forward for four more years."
President Barack Obama won North Carolina by 14,000 votes in 2008, the first victory for a Democratic nominee since 1976. The win was attributed in part to turnout among energized black voters and young people.
North Carolina is considered a swing state again this year. An Elon University poll released about a week ago showed Obama and Romney each with 45 percent of likely voters, and about 5 percent undecided.
The first lady reminded the crowd that every vote counts.
"This election will be even closer than the last one. It's all going to come down to a few key battleground states like right here in North Carolina. We need your help," she said.
"If you know anyone who hasn't voted...understand the impact. He won by 14,000 votes. When you spread that out, it's just five votes per precinct here, 40 votes there. That is the margin of difference. When you leave here and reach out to anyone who might be thinking that my vote doesn't matter, my vote won't make a difference in this complex political process...I want you to remind them of those five votes."
She warned: "The difference in this election might be one vote in the neighborhood. We all know that one person. Our job is to reach out and get to that one person."
Michelle Obama was joined by singer Mariah Carey and NBA Players Association president Derek Fisher to stir up supporters.
It was her first visit to Charlotte since the Democratic National Convention was held in North Carolina's largest city in early September.
President Obama hasn't returned to the state since the convention and a visit isn't part of his final campaign schedule.
Whereas Republicans have claimed the president doesn't have a record to run on, Michelle Obama ticked off accomplishments from the last four years: getting out of Iraq, helping keep college loans affordable, putting health insurance within reach for millions of families, the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of Navy SEALs and saving the U.S. auto industry.
She said supporters should remind potential voters of the president's accomplishments.
"Our economy was on the brink of collapse. The auto industry was in crisis. This economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month. A lot of folks wondered whether we were headed to a Great Depression. Here's the thing I want you to tell folks...tell them about the man who has been leading us with poise and grace," she said.
Saying there was still much more that the president hoped to accomplish with four more years, the first lady echoed the campaign's buzz words from 2008.
"What we have to realize is that change is hard. We know life is hard. But if we keep fighting that good fight, we will get there. We always do...Elections are always about hope."
That message resonated with Bill Anderson, a 34-year-old accountant. North Carolina has early voting and Anderson said he has already cast his ballot for the president. But he said he's reaching out to friends.
"This election is too important to sit on the sidelines," he said. "Every vote counts and, in my mind, I want to make sure that I did everything possible to help the president get re-elected."