Election 2012

First lady Michelle Obama pushes for early voting in Sioux City

2012-10-29T18:37:00Z 2012-11-07T21:23:14Z First lady Michelle Obama pushes for early voting in Sioux CityBRET HAYWORTH bhayworth@siouxcityjournal.com Sioux City Journal

SIOUX CITY | First lady Michelle Obama brought her husband’s campaign message about early voting to the Sioux City Convention Center on Monday, bidding for more support from Iowa’s pivotal voting bloc.

"Eight more days to four more years," she said, to a chant of “Four more years” from the estimated crowd of 1,200 grassroots supporters.

The appearance was part of a series of recent campaign events to give President Barack Obama an advantage over Republican Mitt Romney among early voters in Iowa, one of a handful of swing states this election cycle.

She also campaigned in Iowa City on Monday; Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit Iowa on Thursday.

Michelle Obama on Monday urged Iowans to cast ballots early and then make sure others get to the polls.

"That's the plan. Got it?" she said. “We can do this.”

She also focused on her husband’s support of women, pointing to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, which works to close the gap between how much men and women are paid. It was the first bill he signed after being elected.

Sharon Wellendorf, of Ida Grove, Iowa, who attended the rally, said she’s backing the president’s re-election bid because the administration has supported women. She also appreciates the health reform package that makes sure people with pre-existing medical conditions can't be denied coverage.

"The Obama administration has made my life better over four years," said Wellendorf, an administrator at Horn Memorial Hospital in Ida Grove.

Romney campaigned in Davenport, Iowa, on Monday in his last event before going off the campaign trail because of Hurricane Sandy striking the East Coast.

Michelle Obama told the Sioux City crowd that her husband was focused, in spite of a tight presidential contest, on making sure helpful resources go to areas hit by Sandy. She did not mention Romney by name but said her husband had a better approach to cutting wasteful spending while still investing in needed infrastructure improvements. The U.S. unemployment rate had been above 8 percent for all of Obama's time in office, until a drop in September to 7.8 percent.

Michelle Obama noted the number of private sector jobs has increased for 31 consecutive months.

Julia Kleinschmit, of Bow Valley, Neb., said women's votes could decide the election.

“We’re watching the grocery bill get higher, and so we are concerned about where this economy is going, as well as if I’m going to be able to make decisions on my own health,” she said.

With the final push before Election Day, Michelle Obama said volunteers and supporters need to work harder than ever before.

“We cannot turn back now. Not for our kids,” she said. “We have come so far, but we have so much more to do. We have more work to do.”

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