How Michelle Obama’s touching speech humanised Barack

Sep 5, 2012

First lady Michelle Obama is lovingly praising her husband in a prime-time Democratic convention speech as a devoted husband and caring father at home and a "man we can trust" to revive the nation's weak economy as president.

Mrs Obama, given a huge ovation and describing herself as the "mom in chief," made no mention of Republican challenger Mitt Romney in her Tuesday night speech closing the convention's opening day.

Obama at the convention: AP

Instead, she gave a remarkably personal account of her husband and their marriage in her speech to the Democratic convention. In a voice often soft, even girlish, the first lady talked about things like the quiet hours in the evening when the president sits hunched over a desk, worrying about people who are facing troubles.

She talked about how he would check their baby daughters' breathing at times just to make sure they still were alive.

Now that they are older, she said, he patiently explains world issues to them at the dinner table and strategizes about middle-school friendships. She got a rueful, friendly laugh from the crowd when she described how, when they first dated, he had so little money that the rust on his car had eaten a hole through the passenger-side door.

Like Ann Romney's speech at the Republican convention last week, the first lady's remarks focused almost exclusively on deeply personal stories. They may well have been true, but they were also precisely calibrated — a nationally televised attempt to humanize a man who some voters have found aloof, even arrogant.

Obama has spoken of more inward things on several occasions in recent months, from his admission that he got a shellacking in the 2010 elections to his recent grading of his own handling of the economy as "incomplete." But he rarely speaks openly about personal vulnerabilities or provides much insight into his feelings.

On Tuesday night, his wife did it for him.

Associated Press

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