Michelle Obama Stumps For Barack at the Knight Center (With Help From Some Famous Friends)
|photo by Hannah Sentenac|
Election day is almost upon us, which means our two suitors have just a few days left to ply us with sweet nothings and false promises. The numbers are closer than ever in Florida, so it's anybody's guess who's going to take the state on November 6.
With this uncertain state of affairs, the two sides have been spending inordinate amounts of time in the MIA. Romney hit up UM on Wednesday and kept his speech all sunshine and butterflies (after Sandy's devastating blow, both parties are doing their best to walk on eggshells.) And last night, First Lady Michelle Obama made an appearance at downtown' James L. Knight center.
More than 4,000 supporters came, donning graphic tees, bedazzled Baracks and every hue of blue.
The doors opened at 3:30 p.m., and soon thereafter, The Deep Fried Funk Band took the stage for some warm-up tunes. After about four songs too many, introductory speakers finally began to take the stage.
The audience performed the Pledge of Allegiance, sang along to the National Anthem, partook in a prayer and heard stories from supporters. The speakers spoke in turn about the importance of voting, which frankly felt like a lot of preaching to the choir.
(Anyone willing to wait on a lengthy line and stand for hours in an overly-air conditioned auditorium to see the First Lady is likely already an Obama supporter who's planning to vote. But we digress.)
Despite the excessive wait, the crowd seemed nonplussed. Impromptu dance routines broke out in the crowds. Signs waved. Cheering continued.
The clock kept ticking. And then they trotted out the star power. Marc Anthony took to the stage, telling the crowd everyone deserves "a fair shot and a fair share." Next up, Gabrielle Union. With her trademark confidence, she recounted her childhood, a rape at 19, and the eternal importance of hope.
Finally, after several additional songs, a lot more waiting and yet another introductory speaker, FLOTUS appeared. Dressed in a Miami-appropriate flowery purple dress, she beamed at the crowd and profusely thanked her many supporters.
She spoke of her husband as a "decent, honest man." She recounted his devotion to the women in his life, particularly his grandmother. She told stories about their upbringings, their struggles and their American dream.
The picture was clear: in sharp contrast to the opposing side, these are people who've lived the dream and know hardship first hand. In a race where rape, reproductive rights and birth control have become key themes -- she made it clear who she was speaking to.
Next she launched into a discussion of values and hopes. And in the smoothest of transitions, she began to list Obama's accomplishments: the 5.2 million jobs he created; financial aid assistance for college students; health care reform; putting an end to the war in Iraq and supporting military veterans and families.
She emphasized the need to move forward, as all the signs behind her refused to let the crowd forget the campaign's slogan. And without every speaking their opponent's name, she made it clear which candidate she believed would be taking America back in time.
In the end, she brought it back to Barack. "He knows the American dream because he lived it," she concluded.
With only five days until Election Day, will this be the last major visit by an Obama or a Romney to Miami? With Florida in a statistical tie and 29 juicy electoral votes on the table, don't bet on it.
-- Hannah Sentenac