Michelle Obama was introduced by a video clip produced by director J.J. Abrams. She got a huge round of applause and launched in to a speech talking about her children. Mrs. Obama mentioned that she urged her daughters to “ignore those who questioned their father’s citizenship or faith.” Without mentioning Trump by name she said her family’s motto was “when they go low, we go high.”
Mrs. Obama then turned from raising her own daughters to the idea that a president is a role model for other children. “Our words and actions matter, not just to our girls but to kids across this country,” she said. “This election and every election is about who will have the power to shape our children for the next four or eight years of their lives,” she continued adding, “In this election there is only one person who I trust with that responsibility.”
There was also what sounded like a swipe at Bernie Sanders supporters who are refusing to get behind Hillary Clinton. Speaking of Hillary, Mrs. Obama said, “When she didn’t win the nomination eight years ago, she didn’t get angry or disillusioned.” This brought a huge cheer from the crowd. “Hillary did not pack up and go home because, as a true public servant, Hillary knows this is so much bigger than her own desires and disappointments,” she added.
Mrs. Obama wrapped up by saying she “woke up every morning in a house built by slaves” but could now watch her two girls playing on the White House lawn. “And because of Hillary Clinton my daughters, and all our sons and daughters, now take for granted that a woman can be President of the United States,” she said. This brought a big response from the crown including a standing ovation from Bill Clinton.
There was also a swipe at Trump dealing with nuclear codes. And near the close of her comments she took another swipe at him saying, “Don’t let anyone ever tell you that this country isn’t great…because this right now is the greatest country on earth.”
It was a speech full of partisan political jabs cleverly crafted to sound like a speech about motherhood. That premise gave the First Lady a place from which to attack the GOP nominee while simultaneously insulating herself from being seen as too crassly partisan. One suspects that in real life Mrs. Obama is a lot less motherly in her political observation, but she gave a solid performance of the material. She seems to have learned a lot from her husband. President Obama also routinely claims to be above partisanship even as he zings his opponents with partisan attacks.