PHILADELPHIA — Just before first lady Michelle Obama strolled on the stage at the Democratic convention on Monday, vertical blue signs reading “Michelle” were passed out from the floor to the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center.
She was sticking with what worked — those signs were the same design that were passed out at the 2008 Denver convention, where she delivered a speech that helped reset her image as she stumped to elect Barack Obama president.
She started out on a nostalgic note: how she watched her two daughters when they moved into the White House “piling into those big SUV’s” with men and guns.
Back at a convention after Denver and 2012 at Charlotte, Michelle Obama reminded the Democrats why there were there — to elect another Democratic president — Hillary Clinton.
She never mentioned Donald Trump’s name.
“Our motto is, when they go low, we go high,” she said.
She alluded to Trump’s being a birther — his embrace of the race-based lie that helped spawn his Republican presidential bid. She made a quick mention about those who question Obama’s citizenship.
“That is what Barack and I think about every day as we try to guide and protect our girls through the challenges of this unusual life in the spotlight — how we urge them to ignore those who question their father’s citizenship or faith.”
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There were some frayed nerves in the hall, what with Bernie Sanders forces here reluctant to give it up. Paul Simon singing his classic “Bridge Over Troubled Water” helped to calm things down.
Things had simmered down a bit when Michelle Obama told them a story about Clinton that the Sanders forces might find instructive. About losing. Not giving up. And moving forward.
Clinton and Barack Obama fought a primary contest that was nasty at times with Clinton backers taking her defeat hard.
Michelle Obama picks up the story.
In this election there is only one person “truly qualified to be president of the United States and that is our friend, Hillary Clinton.” She raised her own daughter Chelsea “to perfection.”
“What I admire the most about Hillary is she never buckles under pressure . . .
“. . . And Hillary Clinton has never quit on anything in her life.
“And when she did not win the nomination eight years ago, she did not get angry or disillusioned. Hillary did not pack up and go home.”
Instead, she joined the Obama administration as his secretary of State.
“I want a President who will teach our children that everyone in this country matters — a president who truly believes in the vision that our founders put forth all those years ago: That we are all created equal, each a beloved part of the great American story. And when crisis hits, we don’t turn against each other — no, we listen to each other. We lean on each other. Because we are always stronger together.
“And I am here tonight because I know that that is the kind of president that Hillary Clinton will be. And that’s why, in this election, I’m with her.”