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First lady says President Barack Obama still the same and still wants change

by Chris Casteel Published: September 4, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama mixed personal history with public policy here Tuesday as she helped open the first night of the Democratic National Convention with a speech portraying President Barack Obama as a man still driven to help people who are struggling.

The first lady told an arena packed with cheering delegates that the president is still the same man of humble beginnings she met 23 years ago and who won the presidency in 2008. She said he has fought for people like the grandmother who raised him and her own father, while he has tried to rebuild the economy.

“And he reminds me that we are playing a long game here and that change is hard and change is slow, and it never happens all at once,” the first lady said. “But eventually we get there. We always do.”

She issued a call to “work like never before” to give her husband another four years in office.

Democrats opened their convention with a series of speeches and videos defending the president's economic policies and praising him for pushing health care and Wall Street reform, bailing out the auto industry, allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, fighting wage discrimination, ending the war in Iraq, killing Osama bin Laden and helping veterans.

An Arizona mother said the health care law would prevent her family from hitting the insurance cap on medical care for her young daughter with a heart defect. Lilly Ledbetter, who fought a pay discrimination case to the U.S. Supreme Court, said the first bill signed by the president bore the name the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

Wounded vet speaks

Illinois congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs in the Iraq War, got a rousing ovation in the Time Warner Cable Arena when she told of her comrades refusing to leave her behind after she was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.

Duckworth said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney had a chance in his convention speech last week “to show his support for the brave men and women he is seeking to command. But he chose to criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word ‘Afghanistan.'

“Barack Obama will never ignore our troops. He will fight for them.”

Debt hits $16 trillion

Democrats also hit back at Republicans, who held their national convention in Tampa last week, accusing Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan of twisting facts and lying about the president's statements and positions on Medicare, welfare reform and the closing of an auto plant in Wisconsin.

Republicans on Tuesday, meanwhile, noted that the nation's debt crossed the $16 trillion point as Democrats opened their convention.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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