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The First Lady in Florida

First Lady Michelle Obama in Gainesville

“Think back to what happened in this state in 2008. Back then Barack won Florida by 236,000 votes. Now, that might sound like a lot, but here’s what it looks like when you break it down—that’s just 36 votes per precinct … So get that number in your head, because that could mean just one vote in your neighborhood, in your dorm. Just one vote in your apartment building could make the difference.”

Hitting the campaign trail with just 50 days to go and a sense of urgency yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama attracted huge crowds in North Florida. At a stop in Tallahassee, she reiterated a message that has become an important theme: The 2008 election was close, and this one will be even closer.

“So if there’s anyone here sitting here thinking to themselves that maybe their vote doesn’t matter, if there’s anybody here thinking that maybe my involvement doesn’t count, that maybe in this complex political process ordinary folks can’t possibly make a difference—if anybody here is thinking about that, I want you to think about those 36 votes.

“Look around this room. In this stadium, everyone in here could win this election—36 people. With just a few evenings on a phone bank, with just a few weekends knocking on doors, just a few of you here could swing an entire precinct for Barack Obama. And if we win enough precincts, we will win this state. And if we win Florida, we’ll be well on our way to putting Barack Obama back in the White House for four more years. We’re right here. We’re close.”

Gainesville students

The Tallahassee crowd was full of Floridians who believe in the First Lady and her husband. Latya, Tyra, and Victory showed up to see Michelle Obama because they see her as an inspiration to their generation. Latya put it this way:

“The First Lady inspires us as young women to be all we can be. I feel a true connection to her, and I think that she's made it clear that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.”

Volunteer family in Gainesville

In Gainesville, folks are teaming up with friends and family to get behind President Obama as volunteers. 15-year-old Andrew says:

“Even if I can't vote yet, I like feeling like I'm contributing to the political system because it affects my life. I'm helping us actively move forward.”

His little sister Michaela thinks volunteering is more fun as a family, and she hit the nail on the head about the First Lady’s tendency to spur her husband’s supporters into action:

“People will be excited to sign up to volunteer after they see the First Lady speak.”

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