First Lady Michelle Obama reminisced about her family’s time in the spotlight, during the last rally of her husband’s campaign before Tuesday’s vote.
President Barack Obama, 51, is seeking a second term, which would be his last under the US Constitution’s presidential term limits.
The first couple were met by a crowd estimated at 20,000 people at an outdoor gathering on a chilly Midwestern night in Des Moines, Iowa.
“This is a pretty emotional time for us because this is the final event of my husband’s final campaign,” Michelle Obama said, smiling in response to the cheering audience. “So this is the last time that he and I will be on stage together at a campaign rally.”
Iowa is a swing state that could still fall to either Obama or challenger Mitt Romney, according to the latest voter surveys.
“I’ve come back to Iowa one more time to ask for your vote,” Mr. Obama said, after his wife’s lengthy introduction. “I came back to ask you to help us finish what we’ve started because this is where our movement for change began, right here.” The rally was held outside the Obama campaign’s 2008 headquarters.
He reminded the crowd of the young campaign workers who had filled the building, “willing to work for little pay and less sleep because they believed that people who love their country can change it.” The campaign office had lacked heat at first: “Some of you brought hats and gloves for the staff. These poor kids — they weren’t prepared.” Michelle Obama recounted some of her “many fond memories” of Iowa, including celebrating daughter Malia’s birthday on the campaign trail.
While campaigning in the state in 2007, months before the successful caucus, Barack Obama had met and impressed the Iowa State Fair’s “butter cow lady.” “Seeing my husband’s face carved in butter — believe me, we still talk about that at Christmas,” Michelle Obama said.
“I wasn’t this gray when I first showed up in Iowa,” Obama told the Iowa crowd. “Sometimes it’s been hard. Sometimes it’s been frustrating. We understand that.
“After all we’ve been through together; after all that we’ve fought through together, we cannot give up on change now.”