State News

First lady visits Raleigh, says she'll be spending a lot of time in NC

Posted March 2, 2012 4:01 a.m. EST
Updated March 2, 2012 7:26 p.m. EST

— First lady Michelle Obama visited North Carolina Friday to meet with military families, school children and speak at various events to get support for her husband's presidential campaign.

As her plane taxied in at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, anticipation built for the military families waiting to meet her.

"It was really nerve wracking. I was like, 'Aaaahhhh,'" said Ivy Jones.

Military Spouse of the Year Bianca Strzalkowski got the first lady's arm and attention. She also got an invitation to Washington, D.C. to talk more.

"One-point-one million spouses have many needs, and there's a lot of work to be done after 10 years of war," Strzalkowski said. "So, meeting with credible people like her and DOD (Department of Defense) officials when I've been up there, it's a way to get our story in front of people."

Major Courtney Jones, a 17-year Army veteran, got Obama's autograph. He also had a little fun with the first lady.

"She and I set up a push-up and sit-up contest, because she's into working out and so am I. So, one day, hopefully, we'll get together and see who wins," Jones said.

Sgt. Andre Spell said he connected with Obama as a parent.

"It was awesome, (a) very awesome experience," he said. "She's very personal. She got very personal with my kids."

Obama later spoke at a Democratic fundraiser at the downtown Raleigh Marriott. TV cameras were not allowed. Before leaving for events in Charlotte, she told the crowd, "We're going to spend a lot of time in this state."

North Carolina is a crucial state in President Barack Obama's re-election strategy. Last week, Vice President Joe Biden visited Davidson County Community College.

Barack Obama will visit Charlotte next Wednesday, the White House said. He is expected to make a speech about the economy.