Local Politics

Michelle Obama pursues female vote in N.C.

Posted September 18, 2008 5:08 p.m. EDT
Updated September 18, 2008 5:48 p.m. EDT

— The wife of Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama reached out to female voters across North Carolina Thursday, hosting discussions with women in Charlotte and Greensboro about economic and social issues.

Michelle Obama said the forums are part of a week-long effort to build support for her husband among female voters nationwide.

"You want to get to as many people as possible so that they can hear your message, but you want to get into situations where you can have real conversations," Obama told WRAL News. "What we're hearing is that families who are doing everything that's being asked of them and more are still having a hard time getting ahead."

She said she thinks her husband's plan for universal health care and middle-class tax relief and stabilization will resonate will North Carolina voters.

"This is a swing state, an important state. It always ranks with some of those top five to seven states that could change the election ... and we've invested a great deal in this state," she said.

Women and young voters will be key to turning the historically Republican state – North Carolina hasn't backed a Democrat for president in 32 years – in Barack Obama's favor in November, she said.

Despite the buzz generated by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's selection as Republican nominee John McCain's running mate, Michelle Obama said she doesn't plan to change the way she campaigns for her husband.

"Our game plan is the same – women are an important vote," she said. "Everything that I have done the last 19 months continues to be important, but it's not new."

Michelle Obama said she enjoys meeting with voters, but she structures her role in the campaign so she can spend weekends and most nights with her two daughters. After a private fundraiser in Durham Thursday night and a brief campaign appearance Friday, she said she planned to return home to take the girls to their soccer games and dance classes this weekend.

"It's been important to create this kind of stability – Dad's running for president. Mom helps, but mostly she's at home – that's how we want them to think," she said.